The secondary schools are already out for the summer here. The exams are over for another year. And, in one week, the primary school children will be out for the summer. It's been a busy year.
As you know, I am a childrens bookseller. This is a job I absolutely love for a lot of reasons. I get to constantly update my knowledge and expertise of one of my most favourite things in the entire world; childrens literature. My personal library of kids books is constantly growing with new and exciting authors and books. And, I am afforded the opportunity to invite school classes in to the bookshop to share in the joy of reading. This is so extremely important; more important than I could ever actually express. It's all about getting the right book into the hands of the right child and watching magic happen. Sometimes, this is easy. I'll be told by the parent or teacher, "(S)He is a natural reader." (No such thing, incidentally, but more on that at a later date.) Sometimes...it can be a challenge. But this week, I was very privileged to watch that moment of magic, again, and I have to tell you...it never gets old.
Nicola Pierce came back into the bookshop to fulfill a promise to two local school classes together. This group of 6th year boys had seen Nicola during World Book Day events, where she talked about her first book, Spirit of the Titanic. The boys had been reading this and also, her second book, City of Fate. But, there wasn't time to cover City of Fate...so we rescheduled. After a bit of juggling, last Tuesday, everything was in place. At 10:45, in they came...looking a bit tired and a 'why are we here?'...well, some of them, anyway. But when Nicola started talking...it wasn't very long before every eye was on her. The boys were engaged with the story, wrapped up in the events. As I said...magic.
This is the kind of thing these boys, now off to secondary school in September will take with them. And I hope, they will also take with them a bit of the magic in that memory.... a bit of the knowledge of the pleasure of reading, the excitement...and the understanding that reading isn't just for school. At those times when they need to escape the pressures and the homework and the responsibilities...they can read; and a book will take you on journeys you could never have in life.
Have a great summer, lads... and don't forget to call into the bookshop when you're passing....