Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Elisabeth's Literary Journey

Forever it was Goodnight Moon. 
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I've recited it to Elisabeth at bedtime, during medical procedures, at school, in the car, you name it.

In the great green room there was a telephone and a red balloon...

I'm confident that Elisabeth, though non-verbal, knows every word to Goodnight Moon. And that's a good thing, for in those words there is familiarity and comfort and rhythm.

But this Spring I had a thought...that perhaps Elisabeth would like to hear a new story.

To some it might seem silly to read a book to a child that doesn't have much comprehension. But it's not about the story exactly. It's about the emotion and the excitement that comes with reading aloud. You see, telling a story is much different than every day conversation. When you tell a story your voice changes; the tone expresses feelings like surprise, suspense, sorrow, and joy. I knew that if I began reading books to Elisabeth she would find happiness in it; that she would know the words were for her and experience the story in her own way.

The first book I chose was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. We poked our way through, reading a few pages here and a few pages there. And I noticed something: when I read to her I could see a look of focus in her eyes. Eventually, we made it all the way through the wardrobe door and back, experiencing the wonders of Narnia together.

The next book I chose to read Elisabeth is one that I cherish: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. I find this book to be nothing short of genius: simple enough for a child yet deep enough for the greatest scholar. Plus, there is something about those illustrations that speaks to my soul.

We finished The Little Prince today. Elisabeth was sound asleep in my arms as I read the last words, but even in her sleep, I think she heard me.

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“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
  - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
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