It probably comes as no surprise to learn that the Rietkerks love to read. Soon after we started dating, Tim and I were talking about the books we loved. Top of my list was Gone with the Wind and for Tim, all titles by Tom Clancy are favorites. What we both agreed on, was that buying books was a waste of money. Why buy when you can borrow for free from the public library. In fact, Tim has great memories from his childhood of checking out tall stacks of books week after week and often paying fines for returning books late. Our kids have jumped on the reading bandwagon and it’s been great fun watching them progress from primary readers to chapter books to novels. And getting a new library card is one of the first things we do when we move into a new home. Lindsey loves the New York Times bestseller list; Lauren has read Seven Tears into the Sea over and over; Will is hot on dystopian fiction. And now, our youngest reader Lilly is well on her way to discovering the secrets of the world through great books.
You may be familiar with the national program, Battle of the Books, which encourages elementary and middle school students to read great literature and compete against other schools in the BOB program. Lilly joined her school’s BOB club in December and managed to read all 18 books on the North Carolina list. Here’s that list of books We were able to borrow all of the books from the school library, which was dicey toward the end as many BOB readers were hoarding books in order to finish the list. The media teacher at her school, Mrs. Wilkison, met with the kids every week and had time for book discussion, strategy for competition and overall praise and encouragement for the difficult task of reading long books. Lilly told me she loved Belly Up and Smells Like Dog. She also enjoyed Savvy, though she admits it took her about 50 pages to get into the story. The book we both hated was Julie of the Wolves. I include myself in that assessment because Lilly refused to read it so I dangled the proverbial carrot in front of her…“If I read it to you, will you stick with me?” and then when we finished (after weeks of painful reading sessions after dinner) she confessed that she hadn’t really listened to me read the story at all! I don’t blame her; the book is all about the parts of Alaska I don’t really enjoy–bitter cold, wolves, animal skins, and hard-to-pronounce names.
This morning, 12 students, making up 2 teams, left Pinehurst Elementary for a day of competition at Southern Pines Elementary school. When I dropped Lilly off at school I said, “Have a great day! Be a good sport!” Lilly proudly responded, “It’s gonna be great when we win!”
As a treat for reading all those great books, I offered up the “Holy Grail” of book lovers–to BUY Lilly any book she wanted. I was thinking it would be a hardcover 3-D animal book. Instead, she went for an electronic version of Middle School: How I survived Bullies, Broccoli, and Snake Hill by James Patterson. Definitely NOT gonna make the BOB list next year but it will keep one more Rietkerk on the book wagon.