Dear Abby Hanlon,
I’m a father of two children, I’ve been a Teacher, I’m currently an Elementary School Principal, my 10 year old daughter is a voracious reader, and my 8 year old is a very reluctant reader.
And I completely understand what he’s going through. I was a very reluctant reader as well.
Didn’t like it. Didn’t want to do it. Didn’t want any part of reading.
But thankfully, my father never gave up on me and my relationship with books.
Your book ‘Ralph Tells A Story‘ is my absolute more favorite picture book of all time. Ralph is surrounded by a lot of other literary friends. In my 16 years of public education, 7 of those have been as a school Principal and I’ve read hundreds and hundreds of books to children over the years.
‘Ralph Tells A Story‘ is a book that I’ve gifted to others so many times, and recommended to educators hundreds of times.
Thank you for your literary gem!
Now about my son.
He’s not really reluctant, he just does not enjoy reading. He’s half heartedly gotten into some graphic novels about Minecraft and other characters, but my wife and I have been wanting more.
We’ve been wanting for him to GET INTO a book.
To not be able to put that book down.
To not want to turn his light off at night and go to be, because he just can’t stop reading.
That’s what I want for my son and all children for that matter. Reading changes peoples lives and that gift would be the biggest gift for my son and our family. He just hadn’t found that right book and the ensuing hook that came along with it.
I was cruising Amazon last month looking for titles that may interest him and I searched my favorite picture book of all time. And I happened to click on your name and our entire world has changed.
How did I not know that you’ve written other books? That there is an entire series of books that my son just might be interested in.
I bought the entire box set of ‘Dory FanTasMaGory‘ and hoped he just might click with your writing and characters.
The box set arrived.
I showed the books to him.
He made a face.
I put them on the kitchen counter – and waited.
Just two hours later my wife found me in the office.
We tiptoed through the house, her hand holding mine.
We peeked around the corner.
And there he was.
Sitting on the couch, books unwrapped, reading.
Reading all on his own.
Reading without me telling him to read.
Without me trying to bribe him without trying to bribe him to read.
Nothing else in the world was going on for my son, just him and Dory.
The hook had been set and he had been reeled in.
Books change peoples lives, and Dory FanTasMaGory has changed the life of my 8 year old son. He asks if he can read (of course he can anytime), he wants to brush his teeth and read, he doesn’t want to turn off his light at night because he wants to read.
Don’t give up. Don’t give points to kids if they read. Surround them with books. Talk about books. Show them books. Have Zoom meetings about books. Draw pictures and build Legos about books. Write letters to their favorite authors and your favorite authors. Books are a gift and should be shared with everyone.
And just last night he told me there was a fifth book. Could we maybe buy it because he’s almost done with the box set. I ran to get my phone. Opened the Amazon app, found the book, and he swiped for the purchase. And then he shrieked in joy because a new literary gift was on its way.
Your words are a gift, my son, my family and I, thank you.