I’m recently returned from India where blogging was not an option so I have some catching up to do. My buddy, Carmen Hesse, and I spent two months near a village called Porumamilla teaching art and English to 7th-9th graders. We had some time before and after to travel around a bit too which was great. Such a different culture with some of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. It really makes you appreciate the luxuries we have here in the states. FCN (The organization we volunteered with) put us up at Shantivanam, their home for the elderly. We had electricity and running water, thankfully, but our entertainment pretty much consisted of reading, playing gin rummy, and taking naps. All the machines inducing merriment were left behind so we faced each day technologically au naturel.
Since we had prepared for as much (or should I say as little?) each of us packed a few books among our many rolls of toilet paper and bottles of sunblock. The majority of books we took with us were geared towards young adults since our plans were to read aloud in our classes. Unfortunately, the kids’ level of English wasn’t as advanced as we’d anticipated so reading anything longer than a few pages was really difficult for them to follow. We ended up creating a little “radio hour” after dinner where we’d read the books aloud to each other. One of us would read until the other person fell asleep… nodding off while someone reads classic young adult fiction really takes me back. It was kind of fantastic.
Our libraries contents…
King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry
This was one of my favorite books as a kid. I was a horse fanatic and read all the classic horse lit. Reading it again, I do have to say, it lost a little of it’s luster. But, it still made Carmen and I cry like little girls. It’s a great book for young readers who are into animals or travel and has the heartwrenching Disneyesque misfortune turned victory plotline.
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
I remember this book being better when I was a kid. It put me to sleep every time Carmen would start reading which is great if you’re trying to get your kid to sleep, I guess. It is a cool story and I realize it’s half a century old… It’s just not as entertaining as some of the other books we read, even the other kids books. I wonder if rereading Julie of the Wolves would leave me with the same disappointed feeling. Guess some things are better left in the past.
Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
Awesome book! I remember liking it as a kid and I have to say that I fully enjoyed reading it now. I love that little Indian. Carmen and I would laugh out loud and the writing was far less juvenile than the first two books. It’s just a good story and has a great moral. I’m still a fan.