Keeping in Touch With Your Children Through Books

My daughter Madeleine comes home tonight after spending nearly a month in Paris on an exchange program. We’ve been trading messages about the things she’s seeing and what she’s eating…and what she’s reading. She took along several books that are previous favorites of mine, including Creation by Gore Vidal. She told me she’s been trying to describe it to her host family as she makes her way through it, and she can’t wait to talk to me about it when she gets home.

Reading with your children is a great way to keep in touch, whether your kids live in the same house with you or have moved out on their own. In an interview with last year, author Frank Cottrell Boyce talked about books bridging the distance between him and his son who was living far away.

This is what he had to say, “I think sharing books with someone can be really special. I’ve got a son who is living in rural Peru at the moment on a project for poor people. And I’ve decided to read all the books that he is reading – he took great big fat books with him because he has no phone, no tv, no radio and is living with a family. So once a week we email each other about where we’re up to. It’s hard to keep up with him but I’m loving trying. That’s why I’m reading War and Peace. I don’t think we’ll ever forget doing that together.”

Books have always been a bridge between me and my daughters, connecting us in ways that would be difficult to connect otherwise. Summer is a great time to read to or with your kids, or even parallel to what they’re reading. I’m reading Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain to Catherine now, and when Madeleine comes home, we’ll be reading Lincoln by Gore Vidal. It’s not too late to get started on a good book to read together this summer.


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