I love books. In my dreams, I have a library as big as my house, filled with books, with a huge fireplace and comfy chair right next to it. And I spend endless hours there, immersed in the stories I find in the books.
Of course, reality is a different thing. I still love books, and I love the library. Last weekend, I ran to the library before it closed and decided to let a book find me. That's usually how I find the hidden gems that I wouldn't otherwise know about.
I circled the For Sale table several times before I saw it. It had that plastic wrapping that librarians put on books to preserve them. The moment I read the title I knew this was going home with me. The Family Under the Bridge . I'm not sure I had ever heard of that book but I knew this book would find a new home with us.
In case you don't remember, I have chronicled our adventures in reading before. Knowing my kids, I decided, when it came to this book, they would have to either read it, or listen to me read it. I let you guess which one they chose.
It wasn't without grumbling that they turned off the xBox and gathered on the bed for our reading time. They tried to convince me they would read it by themselves (yeah, right!) but I said no. I'm reading it to you, so listen up.
To say I love this book is an understatement. It wasn't until I read it that I realized it has won a Newberry Award and it is well deserved. The story is about a hobo (yes that's how he is referenced in the book), Armand, who finds a family of 3 kids and their mom living under the bridge that he calls home in Paris. The kids steal his heart, and by the end of the book, he and this family become family.
So many lessons wrapped in one little book. We looked up pictures of Notre Dame Cathedral and the gargoyles referenced in the book, we talked about the gypsies and learned more about their culture; and we talked about compassion.
This homeless man feels compassion towards these children who lost their father and their home. He takes them in, and watches over them while their mother works. He does his best to keep their family together, and in turn, becomes part of their family.
The book is about family, but not only those related by blood, but also those who stand by you and protect you when the times get rough.
When we finished the book last night, the boys said "wow, that was a really good book". And one of them even said "I'm so glad you read that book. I really liked it".
That's all the reassurance I need to continue to read to them no matter how old they get. They may grumble, they may complain. But once the story grabs them, and envelops them, they will lose themselves in the story and wish it would never end.
That's why I love books. How else could we travel to Paris at Christmas time, meet gypsies, and hang out with a hobo named Armand? Books are magical places, I pray my kids will soon discover that for themselves.