Traveling the World through Books

Last Friday afternoon I read aloud to seven classes: not part of a lesson, simply an opportunity to share a love of books and reading. A short fifteen minutes in each class. Of course my book choice was deliberate. And the conversations surrounding the read alouds? Pure joy.

I read A Lion in Paris to the grade four classes. We arrived in Paris at Gare de Lyon. And then as we journeyed with Lion, we enjoyed the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, we even imagined the taste of a Parisian baguette. We climbed Montmartre to see Sacre-Coeur and saw our reflection in the River Seine.

In one class, after I finished reading the book, I said, “I just love how we can travel across the world through books.” A little girl piped up, almost interrupting me with her excitement. “I know! It’s like we can just go there. My mom and I get library books every week and we can go anywhere in our books! Like anywhere.”

Ah, yes. In a short fifteen minutes we talked about Paris, about dreams, about emotion, about life. As Daniel Pennac describes a moment like this: “He [or she] discovered the paradoxical virtue of reading: it takes us out of the world so we may find meaning in it.”

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