Yesterday, a friend and I also visited our old camp. Many summer days and weekends all year round were spent there as campers and as staff. Changes were there – many new horses in the herd, new stalls, new staff and obviously new kids there for a session of Christmas camp. All those are to be expected as over five years have passed since I last worked there. Yet visiting camp is also timeless. There’s the hill up to the barn, getting warm by the fire, girls riding horses and a sense of family.
When I go back to camp, it brings a smile to my face. I share memories, good and bad. I want to wrap myself in camp and never leave again. What do those feelings have to do with reading? I get many of those same feelings when I pick up a favorite book or talk them over with friends.
In 2013 I managed to read just over 160 books from picture books to novels, poetry to nonfiction. In looking back at those titles, I was left wondering which ones I would treat like a visit to camp, the ones I want to pick up again in ten years in glee.
These are some that I hope I will still savor and celebrate then (in no particular order)
1. Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan. Willow’s unique perspective and her journey through tragedy are ones to remember when life gets tangled.
2. Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George. A light fantasy that reminds me to smile and has a great sense of place.
3. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein. Part Willy Wonka, part puzzle and lots of heart.
4. Guitar Notes by Mary Amato. Two outwardly vastly different characters are forced to share a school practice room. A series of notes changes the balance.
5. Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea. Thrilled I picked this up after hearing a few students praise it. The story of Mr. Terupt and his fifth graders managed a rare thing – it made me cry as a reader. It then became my schools All School Read Aloud this year.
6. The Real Boy by Anne Ursu. Powerful. Poignant. I still don’t have exactly the right words to describe this fantasy read.
7. Poison by Bridget Zinn. A young adult fantasy where the main character is pursued for her assassination attempt upon the princess, her best friend. The author’s story makes this read all the more precious.
8. Tillie Pierce by Tanya Anderson. Reading excerpts from Tillie’s account with the explanation of the book brought new meaning to the Battle of Gettysburg before I visited there.
What books do you want to put on again years from now?