Sunday Reflections: A Very Literary Christmas
There was no Christmas tree this year. At this point, we’re not even sure where home is going to be in 2015. But there was still a bag of books waiting for The Tween when she woke up on Christmas morning.
The number one item on her Christmas list was book 3 in The Land of Stories series, which I bought at the school’s Scholastic Book Fair. When she saw it in the book she hugged and stroked it like any good book lover would. Surprinsgly, however, it was not the first book she read this Christmas morning.
Close to Christmas I had found an Edgar Allan Poe metal lunchbox at the Half Price Bookstore. I have always been a huge fan of Poe. When I graduated high school I used the little money I got to buy the complete works of Poe. When I learned I was pregnant with The Tween I campaigned aggressively to name her Annabel Lee. The Mr., however, thought it seemed like a curse to name our child after a dead girl in a poem written by a demented author. He seemed pretty firm on this point, which is why her name is not, in fact, Annabel Lee. So we bought the metal lunch box and found a $1.00 copy of some of Poe’s work to stick inside of it.
She disappeared within minutes and I found her sitting in a closet reading the short story The Tell Tale Heart by flashlight. Which, when you think about it, is the best way to read this story.
Later I caught her and The Mr. looking through the table of contents while he shared his memories of reading each of the stories. He had to explain to her what a pendulum was. And then they were discussing why the main character in The Tell-Tale Heart kept hearing the beating heart under the floorboards. Spoiler alert: it’s about guilt.
We also bought her Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – for only $5.o0, score! – to complete her Harry Potter set. HP continues to be a seminal work for tweens who are discovering them for the first time. I continue to be amazed every day at the talents of Rowling and her ability to capture the hearts and minds of generations with this tale of friendship and bravery.
A friend got her the 2015 Guinness Book of World Records, a choice I think you can never go wrong with. 21 years working in a public library with tweens and teens and I think this is one of the most requested books. Well, maybe it’s a tie between this and A Child Called It.
It’s funny because I remember being pregnant with The Tween almost 13 years ago. I was sitting in a teen program and I sat back for a moment, looking at all my teens that I had spent years nurturing in teen programs, and wondered what it would be like to have my own child among them. Would she want to come, I wondered? What if she doesn’t like science fiction, I feared. What if she doesn’t like to read . . .
Now, she is one of my library teens. She has come to my programs. She has helped me set up and clean up. She has helped me plan. She has sat in a room with her peers and taught them how to do things like make Rainbow Loom bracelets. I get to share my favorite books with her and take her to see all the YA book based movies. It’s a magical meeting of the two best parts of me, my librarian world and my child.
It was a very literary Christmas this year. One of the sparsest and most uncertain, almost devoid of festivity and decorations. But it was in many ways one of our best because we sat around and talked about the stories that moved us.
Filed under: Sunday Reflections
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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