Alice Ozma’s The Reading Promise
I really read this one quickly – I finished 60) HC The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma in about a day.
It’s a great book – her first, and she just finished her college undergraduate degree.
Alice tells the story of how she and her dad, a grade school librarian, read together for at least 10 minutes a day from when she was nine years old until the day she started college.
It is an engaging, fun, and inspiring book, she writes very well (she has won many awards for essays and such) and it is a fascinating story.
Her mom left when she was starting “The Streak” as they called their commitment to read together every day. Her father made a deep commitment to give his daughter his time, energy, and love as an impoverished single parent (her mother had a troubled life and her father wanted to save for college for the two girls on his teachers salary, so they lived a very frugal life throughout her childhood).
The story follows Alice over her young life, focusing upon where they are in the Streak (by the time she started college they were on day 3218!) and what they were reading and what was going on in her/their lives.
It wasn’t always an easy life. Of course, having her mother leave was difficult and her mother was not dependable, having mental issues. Her father sounds as if he might be somewhere on the autism spectrum, with an inability to tolerant the touch of others, a habit of eccentricity and saying exactly what he was thinking, and a tendency to develop deep-seated habits that he saw no reason to break. Yet he was a deeply caring and nurturing man for his daughters and their reading together was part of his serious investment in Alice’s life.
They both have a great sense of humor and, of course, love books deeply. Her father had a long-term, deeply held commitment to getting kids to read and was a wonderful reader of children’s books to his students. Throughout Alice’s life, he chose books to read with her that fit the problems she faced: being a young girl, facing social pressures, not having a mother who was regularly around. Together they intersected through their daily read and the conversation and affection before and after.
I don’t have children, but if I did, I would find this book particularly enjoyable because it would help me learn about great children’s and young adult fiction books. Of course, she talks about the various books that they were reading throughout the book, but she also includes a long, but partial, list of the books they read (they didn’t keep track, many books were in series, such as the Oz series). It is nonetheless lengthy with hundreds of books.
I often love books about other people’s reading experiences and this was no exception. Great job, Alice!
Happy reading, Ruby
HC refers to hard copy book and my books are numbered by the order originally mentioned in my blog. I bold the books purchase this year as I attempt to read my books at a faster rate than I buy them.