Tiny reader heaven


Some things are just meant to be.
Like the coming of my granddaughter into my life a year ago.
Like the exact same age difference between us as that between my grandmother and me.
Like my granddaughter’s birthday being in December…like Grandma’s.

My granddaughter is turning five this week. She loves to read. She takes a flashlight and books with her to bed at night. Her parents and I still read to her at bedtime, though. She chooses the stories.

Naturally books must be part of Christmas and birthday celebrations…when I saw this storybook Advent calendar, I knew it was meant to be. I had to look at each tiny book before giving it to her. One of them is based on her favorite movie, Frozen. I rearranged so that will be the book she finds on her birthday.

Little bits of magic go a long way.

My son says she confessed to a sneak peek. She informed him: “I think I am going to have a special Advent calendar book on my birthday!”

My daughter-in-law says she’s in “tiny reader heaven.”

Such joy for me.

Once upon a time, my grandmother read to me.

Now my granddaughter does.

Old things made new…

an etheree celebrating my granddaughter, reading, and the storybook Advent calendar

Read
for joy
read for love
read for yourself,
dear gift from above
a book a day, how fun
words are magic, every one
tiny reader heaven for you
advent of promise for me, to see
how the world expands, in your little hands






42 thoughts on “Tiny reader heaven

    • It was – of all things! – one of the products offered for “workplace sale” by a company that delivers to our school. I was thrilled to discover it. The books are all Disney, a mixture of old classics and new. I bet you can find it or one like it. Magic and more magic…

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  1. I had to look up “etheree”, of course. ‘Tis the season for connections, old with new; you have so many threads already tying your grandmother, you and your granddaughter together, and I sense many more to come. What a wonderful tapestry of words and love!

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    • Thank you, Chris. I have dabbled with the etheree over the past year ( a new form for me, too) and it really isn’t supposed to rhyme, but that’s how it composed itself in my head, so…I let it play. As I wrote I thought about life being a fascinating journey woven through with so many gifts to enjoy – if we but stop to acknowledge and savor them. Hallowed moments…

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  2. I love this so much! What a gift you are to each other, and how well you are receiving the gift, and giving gifts of your own!
    Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

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    • Reading is a legacy of love in my family for which I am profoundly grateful, particularly for my grandmother’s immense influence. Some of my earliest memories are of being on her lap as she read to me…an invaluable gift. She also motivated me to write; she was, all in all, my unfailing champion. It is no small thing to slip into her shoes! But yes, a joy indeed. Many thanks, Stacey.

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    • Thank you, Kathy. I hadn’t seen one before, either, and stood before it in childlike awe for a second before digging in my pockets to purchase it. Some things are necessary! I am forever grateful for the legacy of reading love in my family and to take my place in the line-up.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ah – this is kind of thing would send me on a mad search to find the source of those long-ago tales in order to relive the memory and to savor the old magic! I would have loved to hear your grandmother’s accent “playing with the words” (great phrasing) as she read aloud. Many thanks for your words here 🙂

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  3. There is so much to love about this story. I think the image that sticks with me most is that of her hands holding fast to the edges of a book that is built, is MEANT to be held in little hands. Such tiny pages, such tiny worlds, such big ideas and hopes and love.

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    • Indeed, Lainie, those little books (so adorable) are meant for little hands – definitely part of the magic! So glad you picked up on that – and the bigness of it all. An absolute treasure to me – and thank you!

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      • One more thing.
        I wanted to teach my students about how to offer peer feedback, and the idea hit me – why not use comments from the Slice of Life challenge?
        So, just so you know…there will be several comments coming your way, crafted by students who have read your work, read the FEEDBACK on your work, and are hoping to post their own worthy feedback.
        Enjoy, my friend!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. An advent book calendar?! I would’ve been in heaven! I still would be in heaven if gifted one of these at 32. The photo you chose reminds me so much of myself. It would be a familiar sight to my mother. And just like that she’s off on an adventure.

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    • I hadn’t seen an advent calendar with books, either, before this workplace-retail company brought it to our teacher’s lounge with a variety of other products for sale. I almost couldn’t believe it – stood in awe for a second before scrambling for the cash! I can so see you as the child sitting there, Anna Maria … I’d have been right beside you. 🙂

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  5. Fran,
    This line is a truth: “ittle bits of magic go a long way.” I enjoyed reading about your granddaughter. Happy soon to be five! Isn’t fun to have granddaughters who are young readers? The act of reading opens up the world to them. Enjoy the birthday this week

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    • Thanks for picking up on that line, Carol and, oh yes – there is nothing like a little granddaughter reading and loving it so much. She reminds me that I don’t remember learning how to read; it just seems like I always could – and, despite having worked with many students on reading, with all the debated pedagogies, it remains, to me, above all, a mystical and magical process.

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  6. Comment from Hansi, Micah and Sabine: Great poem. We never thought of a book advent calendar, and we love the way you put everything. And we would be the happiest people on earth (to get that calendar).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Hansi, Micah, and Sabine: I am so glad you enjoyed the poem and the post. The book Advent calendar seems to be a thing that many people would love (even adults are telling me that!). I am especially happy to know that YOU would love it, So much fun, discovering a new book each day! I thank you for the gift of your feedback today – and happy reading and writing to you all.

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  7. Noah’s comment: Everyone agrees that this is very thoughtful of you. It’s so nice to see your granddaughter sharing her great-great-grandmother’s love for reading. The book advent calendar is perfect! My younger 5-year-old brother is just learning to read and would love this calendar. Maybe I should get my mom to buy one for him next Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Noah: I am delighted that you and others enjoyed reading my post. I wrote it partly out of deep gratitude to my grandmother for encouraging my love of reading so early in life (I can remember sitting on her lap while she read to me, long before I started school). It is an amazing thing to me to be able to step into her shoes and do the same for my granddaughter now. I thought the book Advent calendar was perfect, too! So exciting! I hope you can find one for your brother next Christmas and the idea that you would like to give him this gift makes my day. Writing is magical, too – keep doing that and thank you for this meaningful feedback.

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    • Dear Tyler – there IS a lot of love wrapped into this post and I am deeply grateful that you can sense it. My granddaughter loves to read and it is a great joy to me! Thank you so much for your thoughtful feedback. Happy reading and writing to you!

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  8. From Lucas, Ben and Ariana: This is amazing! A book advent calendar!? We’re pretty sure that when your granddaughter grows up, she will read to her grandchildren. What made you think of writing this as your blog post? Also, what inspired you to use the etheree?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lucas, Ben, and Ariana: I am delighted to know that you found the book Advent calendar amazing! I thought it was, too, and I wanted to share it. I had no idea that others had not heard of it before, either. I loved my daughter-in-law’s line, “She’s in tiny reader heaven,” and somehow those words sparked the whole idea of writing the post. The books are tiny, my granddaughter is small…but she’s developing a big love of reading which brings me great joy, and I am most joyful to be part of it. So, I wanted to pull all those things together in a post. The etheree is a new form for me. I just started experimenting with it earlier this year. An etheree really doesn’t have to rhyme but as I worked on it, the rhyming words came into my head, so I just used them anyway. Why did I choose that form for this post? Well… I was writing about an Advent calendar and the shape of an etheree looks to me like a Christmas tree.:) Thank you for this wonderful feedback – and keep writing!

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  9. Jacob’s response: I really enjoyed this blog post. Especially the part when you
    are mentioning how your granddaughter loves to read and how she started her love of reading from when she was a newborn. I to share that same connection with loving reading and has become a important part of my life. Another connection to this blog post is sharing this love of reading with my grandfather. I hope in the future I can share this connection with future family members.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Jacob: This is one of my favorite things, how our own stories stir memories and experiences of others, such as you reading my post and thinking of reading with your grandfather. I am quite sure you will continue this legacy of loving reading with generations to come. What an amazing thought! It makes me happy to know you enjoyed this post. Thank you for the gift of your feedback. Happy reading and writing!

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  10. Philip’s thoughts: I think tiny reader heaven is a sweet poem, Fran. I like how you are trying to teach your granddaughter how to read. I hope it goes well with the advent calendar!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. From Gibby: Wow, Fran! I never even HEARD of an advent calendar. It looks cool. I should give one to my cousins. Do you think that’s a good idea? I do! Ok, thanks. Bye!
    (The end)

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    • Dear Gibby: I had never heard of a book Advent calendar before, either – usually it’s got a piece of candy or a small toy or ornament for each day from December 1-24.When I saw this, I couldn’t believe it – I think it is a most excellent gift to encourage young readers! I so appreciate your feedback. Keep writing – for that is a gift you give to yourself as well as others. 🙂

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  12. Greta, Mihir and Phoebe’s comment: Thank you so much for that touching passage. It really shows how much you love your granddaughter. In our opinion, reading is the best gift of all, and we’re glad you get to share it with loved ones. There’s truly nothing better than being stuck in a book while being cozy in your bed, like you said. Being able to share the made-up magic with others is a gift beyond imagining. Thank you.

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    • Dear Greta, Mihir, and Phoebe: What a delightful observation – “There’s truly nothing better than being stuck in a book while cozy in your bed.” That you all agree with this warms my heart, indeed. I’m amazed that my granddaughter was doing this at age 4! Reading IS an amazing gift. The older I grow, the more I believe that, and the more I want to encourage reading for the joy of it. Stories are magical – fiction and nonfiction – we come away changed by every one we read. Our OWN stories are magical too, even if we think they are “just ordinary.” That’s one of the reasons why I write – you never know what a reader is going to find meaningful, helpful, or encouraging (not to mention experiencing this yourself while writing. You learn a lot about yourself as well). The connection between the writer and the reader is a magical one. I so appreciate your thoughtful feedback and above all – keep writing!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. From Camilla, Caroline and Sophia: Wow! Your writing really shows the metallic bond between you, your granddaughter, and your grandma. It is so true that books are naturally part of Christmas and birthday celebrations! You capture this so well. Little bits of magic really do go a long way, when people cherish them like you do! We think this poem was very moving. We will definitely look into getting our own copy of (the) Advent calendar!

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    • Dear Camilla, Caroline, and Sophia: I am delighted that you found my little poem moving. As far as “little bits of magic go” – I think we forget how much power we have to transform the world around us with our words and even the smallest of actions. Childhood is a magical time. We often don’t realize it until we are older. I was so excited to find a book Advent calendar – I had never seen one before, either! Sounds like you all love to read and that absolutely adds a magical glow to my day – thank you so much for this feedback and keep writing! (To me that’s one of the most magical things of all).

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  14. Emma’s response:
    “Little bits of magic go a long way.” 
    It’s always the little things that are most important in my opinion 
    Though right now the streets may be empty,
    The shops may be closed,
    But sometime this whole thing will gradually stop, perhaps leaving a better world.
    Stronger, Or more prepared?
    Who knows, that’s for us to wait and see.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Emma, what a poetic, insightful response! I am happy that you picked up on the “little bits of magic line.” You are so right – little things are most important. I also admire your positive outlook on this pandemic – yes, it WILL end, one day we will be on the other side of it all, hopefully stronger and better. We will have learned a lot, at least. I sense that you are a courageous person. Thank you for reading and for the gift of your words. Keep writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. One more…from Tania =)

    This is a very thoughtful piece of writing. The bold bond through reading is both heartwarming and everlasting. Books are a way to share memorable moments that pass joy and happiness throughout generations. I have never heard of a book advent calendar. But this writing is forcing me to learn more about them. Thank you for that experience.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Tania,

      Thank you for reading and for your feedback. I see that you have a rich way with words! I hope you will keep writing. I had no idea when I wrote this post that so few people had ever encountered a book advent calendar; the response to it has made me glad I shared. You are so right about the bond of reading – or love of reading – being everlasting. It truly is one of the great loves of my life and I am excited to pass it on. Once again, thank you for your thoughts. I wish you much joy in your own reading and writing adventures!

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