When a YOUNG Reader Gets It

I began my morning at the Easter sunrise service at the Redemptorist Renewal Center in Picture Rocks Arizona on the fringe of the Sonoran Desert.  Not a better way to start an Easter Sunday…..

Fra Paul at Easter sunrise

Until this weekend, the youngest person to read one of my books was my grand nephew Christian who I believe read The Olympian shortly after its initial publication in 2008.  If anyone knows differently, please let me know.

This Easter weekend, we were blessed with a visit from my three sons – Nick’s wife Terri and Jesse’s VERY good friend Erica, too – and my eldest niece, Kira, her husband Phillip and two young sons Andrew, 11 – a future NBA prospect – and Michael – a free-spirited youngster with spunk.

Phillip, me and Kira

Our history with Kira goes back to the early 70’s when she was just a little girl, and when Marie and I had been married for about one month.  Kira and Christian’s father Sean lived with Marie and me for several months in Alaska.  Years later, Kira and Sean would visit and stay with us on our farm in Upstate New York.  Fast forward ….

After a few sessions of basketball at the park and a good hike at Sanctuary Cove, we shared a barbecue Saturday afternoon.  What has this to do with writing book?

As Kira, her terrific husband Phillip and sons Andrew and Michael prepared to leave and return to California, I gave them audio books of The Sixth Day: A 17,175-Word Novella About Creation and Prizefighting and The Olympian: A Tale of Ancient Hellas.  I also gave them a hard copy of The Sixth Day and The Hamsa.  It was small recompense in return for the wonderful visit and Phillip’s gift of a subscription to Parabola.

Just minutes after they left the house, Kira sent me this picture of young Michael – eight-years old – trying to read The Sixth Day in the back seat of their mini-van as they returned to their hotel.

Frankly, the picture made my weekend.

Just over a month ago, I posted a piece about when ‘people get it.’  And then, I receive this picture from Kira …. Because The Sixth Day is written in Ebonics, young Michael will struggle with it.  I have cautioned his Mom that the ‘F’ word shows up once, maybe twice and the ‘N’ word appears occasionally, but that is consistent with the time period in which I told the story.

MichaelWhether or not Michael ‘gets it,’ I can see the concentration on his face as this eight-year-old boy points to each word and does his best to sound them out … “John Paul was a boy with two first names ….”

Eventually,  young Michael will ‘get it!’  What made my day?  Tough call:  Andrew and me playing 2v2 against a pair of high school players from Mountain View and losing 12 -10, ‘make it, take it;’ or Michael trying to read The Sixth Day.  Regardless of the choice …. what a day!


One response to “When a YOUNG Reader Gets It”

  1. Minny Fischer Avatar
    Minny Fischer

    I have throughly enjoyed finding your story.

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