Just a few good books, that's all I ask…

I am a firm believer in reading. My mother is a great reader, and her mother before that.  My grandfather on my mother’s side was a book collector.  I had my first library card as a little girl. I read all the books in our church library when I was a pre-teen. The church librarian started buying new books so I could have something new to read. I will never forget the public library in Vinton, VA. I took knitting classes there and checked out books.

The first time my boys went to a library in America they were shocked. To think of all those books and that you didn’t even have to pay for them. Wow! We recently discovered the public library in the big city about an hour from our little interior town. You have to be a resident of the town to check out the few tattered books they have and you can only keep them for 7 days. We don’t get in that often! I probably could have used a friend’s address who lives in town and gotten a card, but the short time period wouldn’t have allowed for much checking out. But we like to go there from time to time and look at the books for an hour or so. We sit at the book store at the little mall in the city and enjoy looking at the few books they have that are appropriate for little boys.  Occasionally we buy.

I usually read out loud each night after the boys are in their beds and all ready to stay there. We have read The Hobbit and all three of The Lord of the Rings series. We read all The Chronicles of Narnia books this past year. This spring and summer we read the series by John White starting with The Tower of Geburah, and including The Iron Sceptre and The Swordbearer which we just finished this last week. We weren’t as thrilled with these and with Tolkein and Lewis’s fantasies, but they were good nonetheless. We’ve read other types of books in between, including the missionary stories of Dr. Ben Kendrick. Many of these books we got from the library of our mission’s school for missionary children. It’s located about 12 hours from where we live. So we don’t get there very often. When we do we are allowed to check out books and keep them for several months.

Tonight we are going to start reading The Barbary Pirates by C.S. Forester. The copy I have is old, but it is available online through Amazon and several other sites. The boys like books about pirates. At the largest grocery store around located in the big city nearby us, we found just a few weeks ago in Portuguese a series of books about young Jack Sparrow of the recent movies. They actually had the first one all the way through four. Earlier this year we happened upon #2 of the Pirate Hunters series by Brad Strickland and Thomas E. Fuller in Portuguese as well. But the bookstore has never had any others. We found # 1 of the The Chronicles of Prydain The Book of Three in a major Brazilian city in another state while traveling last year. Once again we’ve never seen any others. The Left Behind series for teens is around from time to time and we buy them we see them, whatever numbers we can find. I have ordered from an Brazilian website from time to time, but the shipping costs are not so good.

Regardless I’m glad my two older boys already read very well in Portuguese and buying interesting books for them to read delights me to no end. But it is hard to do. Books here are by the whole expensive and good books for young boys to read are just hard to come by. My second grader is picking up on a lot of Portuguese words as we are out and about. All three were born in Brazil and speak Portuguese just fine. I didn’t have to teach the older ones to read as they went to ABC class (kindergarten) for one year. I am making it a goal and priority for the little one to learn to read well in Portuguese during this school year. I took a class several years ago about teaching adults to read Portuguese. The illiteracy rate is high here. I guess that’s why books don’t mean much to most people! Which is sad indeed. The Portuguese books that I buy for the boys usually get read by at least five children. If I find a good book for myself in the big city, I always share it with the ladies in our congregation. Perhaps I can’t change the overall country’s literacy rate, but I can mess with the statistics in our little neck of the woods.

I’m happy for boys that like to read. My oldest is pictured above.  He reads his Bible avidly even on the camp boat!

Here’s to reading and good hunting as we continue the neverending quest to seek out more good books!

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