A Note to My Niece (Age 7)


Editor’s note: This post is reprinted from my sister’s Facebook page. Enjoy!

I’ve been quite moved by some recent essays on next-generation readers. See, for instance, Celeste Ng’s “Battle Hymn of the Bookworm Mother” and Sara Lippmann’s “On Legos & Monsters.”

I don’t have children of my own, but I do have many wonderful children in my life, including my niece, R, who just completed second grade. Though not the most avid reader in the world, she’s a very capable one, and she recently shared with me her school’s summer reading list. Even better, she asked me which titles listed there I would recommend. Here is the text of a note I left on her brand-new, “big-girl” desk, along with my own copy of one of the listed books.

One last comment: If you ask my niece to tell you the name of her “favorite book,” she’ll say “Quiet Americans.” And I didn’t even train her to do that! ;-)

June 25, 2011

Dearest R:

Since you very sweetly asked me which of the books on your summer reading list I would recommend, I’d like to suggest that you begin with Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It was one of my favorite books when I was growing up. Every birthday and Chanukah for many years, Grandma and Grandpa bought me one of the “Little House” books—there’s a whole series, and Little House in the Big Woods is the first of all of them.

I still have my copy, and you can see that I brought it to school during first, second, AND third grades, because you can see my name and my classroom numbers written inside! Guess what year I was in first grade? 1976! That means that this copy of the book is 35 years old, and I am loaning it to you to read. I know that you will take very good care of it, and I hope that when you finish reading it, we can talk about your favorite parts of the story, your favorite characters, and anything else that you find interesting about it.

And then, R, I will be very happy to help you pick out other books from your school’s list. I will help you order books from the library and, if we can’t find the books at the library, I will help you find copies to buy. Does this sound good to you?

Wishing you a wonderful time with these wonderful books!

All my love,
Aunt Erika

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2 Responses to A Note to My Niece (Age 7)

  1. Pat T says:

    Your sister? She's a keeper. :)

  2. mymomshops says:

    Oh yes! She is the best. The kids and I are so lucky to have her.

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