When the Love of Reading Fades

by Rebecca J. Gomez

A few years ago, I came across this greatly mistreated paperback copy of Santa's Crash-Bang Christmas by Steven Kroll at a yard sale. I immediately knew I had to have it, despite its obvious maladies.

I had to have it because my family had it when I was a child, and I loved this book. It had been one of my favorite Christmas books, second only to Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It had a special place in my heart even though I hadn't seen or thought of it for years.

One day not long after that, I was looking through the shelf of picture books in the family room. My then fourteen-year-old son happened to be nearby. Every now and then I'd pull a book out and show it to him. "I love this book!" he would say as he'd flip through the pages. We talked about reading them together when he was younger. Even as a teenage boy rebelling against reading, books had a special place in his heart. And he remembered that, just for a moment, when he said to me, "I like books. I just have to force myself to read the first couple of chapters."

Years have passed, and I often wonder if the boy who used to beg me to read Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs or Chicks and Salsa over and over has lost his love for reading. I've worried that the same kid who devoured The Magic Thief in two days will never find another book that he can't put down.

But those little moments of "Oh, I love that book!" and his recent comment that he should finish reading The Chronicles of Narnia have assured me that books still have a special place in his heart. And I do my best to nurture that, giving him and his sisters books as gifts regularly, especially at Christmas. With time, books may once again have a special place in his life.

Maybe he'll never be the voracious reader he was when he was ten, but the connections we've made because of books will never go away. And I have no doubt there will be new ones in the future.

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This post was adapted from a post that originally appeared on Rebecca's blog, www.rebeccajgomez.com.





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