A Father-Daughter Bond, Page by Page AND readeo - connecting page by page

A few weeks ago I came across an article in the New York Times by journalist Michael Winerip, also author of the middle grade mysteries starring the young reporter Adam Canfield. A Father-Daughter Bond, Page by Page tells the story of Jim Brozina, an elementary school librarian, and his quest to stay connected to his youngest daughter, Kristen. His older daughter Kathy let Jim know she was ready to leave bedtime read-alouds behind when she was in fourth grade and reading Beverly Cleary. Banking on their mutual love of L Frank Baum, Brozina challenged Kristen to see if they could read together for 100 nights in a row. The Streak began on November 11, 1997 with The Tin Woodman of Oz. The Streak ended 3,218 nights later on September 2, 2006 when Kristen started her first day of college.

Brozina collected 700 of the best books he and Kristen read together, as her legacy. As he says, “I don’t have much money to pass on,” he said. “But these books, she’ll read to hers and they’ll read to theirs. And they’ll read to the generations down the lines. It’s a means for me to touch generations I’ll never see. They’ll all be smart. I can’t imagine these books will never be used. Every single one of them is so good.” As Kristen said when reflecting on the end of The Streak, as she did for an essay for graduate school, "There’s nothing I’ve ever done with that consistency, not even brushing my teeth.”

Of course I got all choked up just reading this article, thinking about the connection that was created between father and daughter, one book lover sharing his passion with another. And most of all, I was impressed with the esteem these two people had for an agreement they had made. The article detailed incidences when one of the two would read over the phone if they could not be in the same room, and even an instance when Bronzina pulled Kristen, who was rehearsing a part in a play and was 17 at the time, off stage at 11:45 pm to read together. As a teenager, Kristen would stop by her house late at night to get in her reading with her dad, then go back out with her friends. Maybe this is something I will try with my youngest son - my other two kids are too old now, although they do stop by my bed from time to time to hear me or my husband read out loud to our youngest.

Since I ran this article in May of 2010, Kristin has gone on to write The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared under the very appropriate and cool pseudonym, Alice Ozma. Besides the book itselfn her website, Ozma's website shares inspiration and ideas for how to start your own reading streak of any variety. You don't have to commit to reading to your kids every night, there are plenty of other ways to make traditions around books and reading. Just yesterday I rang up a customer who had four copies of Shakespeare's Richard III. We chatted about how great the edition she was buying (No Fear Shakespeare) is and then I just had to ask, "What are you doing with four copies of the same play?" She told me that every summer she and her three kids read a Shakespeare play together! How cool is that? There is so much you can to around an event like that as well. You can perform an act from the play yourselves, watch a movie version or even go see the play being performed - especially is you live in Ashland, OR and can visit the Shakespeare Festival. Whatever you do, I hope that you and your family will find a way to make books, reading and being together a tradition in your family.

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