Student Snippets

A WINDOW INTO THE DAILY LIFE AND THOUGHTS OF SLIS STUDENTS

Revisiting Childhood

As someone who is pursuing a degree in Children's Literature and Library Science, I spend a lot of time in my courses rereading books I loved as a child. I also get to read books which I missed as a child or which came out after I grew up a little. Many of the books which I reread are considered classics in the field of Children's Literature (Where the Wild Things Are, Goodnight Moon, Ramona Quimby Age 8). I always enjoy reading the books. Sometimes I will get little flashes of memory-feeling which remind me how I felt when I read the book when I was younger. I'll remember having my mom read to me, or the first time I connected to the character.

Outside of school, I've moved away from rereading in the last few years. There are just so many books out there! If I reread a book, I'm giving away the time which I could otherwise spend reading a brand-new adventure! However, this last month, the West Roxbury Branch of the Boston Public Library was featuring The Giver as their Roxbury Reads! books. I loved The Giver when I read it in fourth grade. I think I read it three or four times that year. But it's been about 16 years since I read it. So before Lois Lowry came to talk, I decided I wanted to reread it. I wanted a fresh reminder of what she would be talking about.

Once again, The Giver blew my mind. For those of you who aren't familiar with the text, it follows Jonah, a young boy who is turning twelve. In his community, when you turn twelve, you are apprenticed to the job you will do for the rest of your life. And he is the only person selected to apprentice with The Receiver. Soon Jonah must make choices which change how he perceives the entire world.

Rereading The Giver brought me back to fourth grade. It reminded me of the first time I read it (or who knows, maybe the second or third time) when I was trying to understand this unusual community. When I felt compelled to disagree with the adults in the story. When I shared the book with my friends. I was always a voracious reader, but I think The Giver was my first introduction to books as a means for justice.

Listening to Lois Lowry speak about how she thought of the idea for The Giver was interesting. It was informative. The connections across her life that led her to create this story gave me chills. I enjoyed meeting her and I enjoyed listening to her speak. But...it was also strange. Books belong to their readers. That's something John Green says quite frequently. I'd never realized how much I believed that phrase until I was listening to Lois Lowry. As a writer, it was interesting to listen to her explain how she'd gathered ideas across her life and pulled them into The Giver. But as a reader, I didn't care. It didn't change the text for me, or my interpretation of it. The Giver was mine. Just as it belonged to everyone else in that room who had read it.

While I'm enjoying the opportunity to meet writers and listen to them speak about their books, and I'll continue to attend events as long as I can, they don't change the book. Books belong to the people who love them.

What author would you love to meet? Have you ever met someone and had your opinion of the book change? Let me know in the comments!

All the best - Hayley

Children's Literature