Meet Clara, my grand niece. Like all my “grands,” she’s amazing.
Clara loves to read. She estimates she read fifty books in 2013. She’s eleven years old and attends Ephrata (Pennsylvania) Intermediate School.
She bubbles with enthusiasm when asked about what she likes in books. But I was also warned by her Grandma Sue (my sister) that Clara doesn’t mind telling you when she doesn’t like something. So, even though I wanted a youthful reader’s opinion of Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World, I was just a little nervous when she and I sat down to talk.
Or I should say. Clara talked I listened and took notes.
The first thing I learned helped me relax: “My favorite book is Grace, Gold, and Glory My Leap of Faith about Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas. I like autobiographies. Real people’s life stories.”
Phew. That’s good, I thought.
I asked if she can read only her favorite kind of book.
“Oh no,” she said. “We have to pick from nine different genres.”
Genres??!! She’s eleven years old. I think I learned that word in college.
She must have a very good teacher, I thought. Turns out that her reports have to include the name, author, genre, date finished, and a rating on a scale of 1-10.
So, I went for it: “What score did you give Blush?”
Nonchalantly she said, “A ten.”
My smile and my deep breath made Clara smile too.
“Tell me the stories in the book you liked best,” I requested.
“How you became a red bird instead of a blue bird in second grade,” she blurted out immediately. “I liked you the best when you were my age or younger. I liked the tobacco worm story, too.”
“So, Clara, would you bite a worm in two for five dollars?”
“How about twenty-five dollars?”
Clara hesitated for a second, then she smiled and shook her head yes.
She’s a girl after my own heart.
Do you know any young readers? Were you a young reader yourself? What genre did you like, and what was your favorite book?