Never Give up on Neverland

I love to read.  Just walking into a bookstore instantly makes me happier.  I love a good hardback, wreck numerous paperbacks by bending the covers and devour kindle books on my paperwhite.  Since I am a Kindergarten teacher reading aloud to my students is a BIG part of my job, which I love.  Each year I get to introduce a crop of new sweet faces to the classic stories my mom read to me.  I will never tire of reading Heidi to my students and they love the story every year.  This year I had one young man that was so eager to hear the story that he left the classroom bathroom door open while he was using the restroom.  He didn’t want to miss a minute.

Being reintroduced to the classics has inspired me to start collecting beautiful copies and reading the ones that escaped my childhood eyes.

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As my book collection grows, it gets harder and harder to determine which book to read next.  I have decided I will read them in alphabetical order and started with Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.  Its now one of my favorite books of ALL TIME.  So good.  I love the life lessons and think every girl should have to read it and discuss it with someone in their life.  But that book has tons of real life in it and not a lot of magic.  While real life is often more magical and miraculous than what can be imagined in books, children need a steady diet of fantasy to help them understand anything is possible.

After reading Little Women, I was excited to see that Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie was next.  I read this pretty version from my Puffin Classics set that one of my amazing students bought me as a year end gift.

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I guess it didn’t escape her that I love books!

Peter Pan has always been a story I have enjoyed and used to watch the Cathy Rigby version every time I visited my grandma.  The book sticks pretty close to this Broadway version.  Anyway, the second grade students at my school listen to their teachers read Peter Pan aloud every year and are always surprised when ~spolier alert~ Peter tries to fight fair with Captain Hook and Hook uses that as an opportunity to be dastardly.  They talk about the moment in the hallways and I love hearing them talking about books, or pretending to be pirates and lost boys on the recess field.

The beauty of Peter Pan is that it reminds you what its like to be a kid.  Even the most childlike adult will be reminded of the magic of an imaginary world when they read Peter Pan.  Neverland is just a place where make believe stories go to live when the children making them up have begun to grow older.  I think Walt Disney borrowed this idea when he created Disneyland.  That place really does feel magical.  I got the snow globe below at Disneyland a few years ago and now it sits on my bookshelf (notice my cat Tom Riddle checking it out).

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Reading Peter Pan carried that same nostalgia with it.  I am a firm believer that adults should read children’s literature.  Children’s books are not full of horror, sex, and foul language like some modern adult and young adult fiction, yet they are not light.  They are full of lessons that are important for kids to be exposed to and for adults to be reminded of.  Peter Pan reminds us that the worlds we create can become real, even if for just a little while.  It reminds us to not take life too seriously.  We should remember to dream and make believe.

I am so happy that kids today are still being exposed to the wonders of make believe and are still being swept up in it.  I am so glad I picked up this book and let it carry me away to Neverland.

Until next time,

Love you more than second to the right and straight on til morning,

Whitney

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