“We want to read this book!” I stood in my dining room, now alit with bright sunlight streaming in through the sliding glass door. Taking the book gently from my oldest daughter’s hands, I read the title: Bed-knob & Broomstick, by Mary Norton.
I felt my eyebrows raise, just a bit. “This is the book you want to read aloud?” I asked, placing great emphasis on the first word. I had tasked my two oldest daughters to run upstairs and, among the hundreds of books we own, to choose a book Papa would read aloud to them while schools remain closed. I expected the girls to select something . . . well, more modern, perhaps? But I suppose this made sense since our previous read aloud (last summer) had been The Phantom Tollbooth, another older title.
Looking up from the cover, I saw two two hopeful faces. I could tell there would be no changing their minds. I flipped quickly to the copyright date, and a new worry suddenly arose. 1957. Hmm, yikes. Now, I had heard of this book but had never read it. What if it didn’t pass muster in regards to cultural sensitivity? What about representation? Or diversity of characters? Now I could feel my eyebrows furrowing. Back up to their faces. “You’re sure?”
Well, I thought. These are my children. I’ll navigate this with them. Try to address whatever comes up. The book is a bit of a ‘classic’, isn’t it?
“Okay, girls,” I said. “You want to start right now?” They did.