White Balls Were Falling Outside The LibrarySunday, March 30, 2008
Yesterday the three girls (Rosemary, Rebecca, Lauren) and I went to the main branch of the Vancouver Public Library. We want to make it a routine again as we once did with Rebecca when she was 6. It was then that we started haunting the Spanish book section so that we could read Rebecca in Spanish. We never (at the time) explored the wonderful area dedicated to children in the basement. With lots of big windows overlooking the main plaza it does not seem like a basement and paradoxically it seems airy but intimate, with little chairs and tables. We adults are allowed to sit in the chairs if we are accompanied by a child. Best of all when children talk nobody shushes anybody.
Lauren will accept just about any picture book, be it in French, English or Spanish. Rebecca is more picky. She did not want to look for the Nancy Drews that were not part of her collection. It would seem that she is growing up even though she took Lilly the Cat (a stuffed one) in tow to the library. When Rosemary wanted to find Natalie Babbitt's Tuck Everlasting (we saw the film in Lillooet last week)Rebecca grew angry saying the book had too many big words and that she did not like its style. I asked here where she had read it. She had attempted to read it in school. I told Rebecca that perhaps Rosemary simply wanted to read the book herself as she had liked the film. "Don't be selfish, Rebecca," and help Abi find it in the computer." This we did.
Later on when Rebecca picked some extremely easy books in Spanish, Rosemary saw the light. "As long as she reads in Spanish and or English, that's what's important."
I can state with confidence that there is one virtuous habit that I learned under the firm thumb of the Argentine dictator Juan Domingo Perón. We were told in school that Perón instructed that books were to be treated with awe and respect. They were not to defaced or written on. Reading was to be a goal for all children if Argentina was to be a greater country some day. In the end, around 1955 Perón did not take his own advice and he started to burn books and bibles in churches. That was the beginning of the end for him and the Argentine Navy rebelled. By the time Perón escaped in a Paraguayan gunboat I had learned my lesson well. I have never felt guilty in buying a book even when I have had little money to spend. It is my hope that both Lauren and Rebecca will also learn this lesson.
As we were about to leave Lauren looked out of the window into the street. "Look, white balls are falling." It was hailing!