February 1, 2011

Books that Bring Tears

Have you ever read to your child through tear streamed vision? 
Three books brought such a reaction from me.  I stumbled through the words of two of the books, barely reaching the end, and entirely quit the third.

The first book is 

The Story of Ruby Bridges
I cry every time I read it.  I even started to tear up at co-op when I heard the story being read by another mom to some younger elementary grade students.

Robert Cole sensitively writes about a time of turmoil in America's history, and does a fantastic job of allowing the reader an 'inside' view of it.  Through Ruby, I saw the world of that time in a way I could not have imagined. 

Ruby's faith and grace shine through the pages. 
It is her words and actions that bring the tears to my eyes each and every time. 

Another book that draws the tears is

 Written by Eleanor Estes, this book weaves a tale of two elementary aged children who are cruel to a class mate.  Wanda, the class mate, is poor, and wears but one dress, a thin blue one.
Peggie and Maddie, the two children who make cutting remarks to Wanda, realize Wanda's absence from school one day.  Thus begins the story of their interactions including past memories and reflections on their behavior and cutting words. 

For me, the hardest parts were reading about those cutting remarks, hurtful words, and children who use this power of words for their own self gain, without considering other's feelings or situations.  Perhaps, I am more sensitive than most, but from my growing up experiences, I relate more to Wanda than to Peggy and Maddie. 
In all, the book is a fascinating read, interweaving remorse into the past and present settings of the book.    

My most abrupt failure was during my first read through of the Little House series,

On the Banks of Plum Creek.

I had told my daughters we would read through them together. 
The historical narratives are told in a plain matter of fact style with superb details.
When Laura tells of their poverty,
struggle after struggle,
Pa's search for a job miles away,
walking in his one pair of boots...

why I couldn't go on!

I stopped right there,
apologized to my daughters for my tears, and set the book aside.
I could not read any more.

Several months later, I picked up the series and began again, alone.
I struggled through them all on my own,
stopping occasionally, but finally completing the set. 

Now, I want to finish the series with my daughters,
as I had told them I would. 
I am confident that I can now make it through
but I do believe there will be another struggle for me when we reach 


  1. I love the laura ingalls wilder books... but the other two I am off to find.. although when we read together, My now 9 year old says, "if you are gonna cry, you owe me a buck". I cry at a lot of books that we read together!

  2. Oh, I know just what you mean! We read The Two Of Them by Aliki just the other day. I could barely finish I was crying so hard.

  3. Oh, boy. Thanks for the warning. I remember tears brimming when I taught school and read about the history of our nation, too...as emotional as it was for me, my students were also often moved...and then I did what I could to talk about how WE are able to make the difference.

    One Hundred Dresses...I haven't read in years, but do remember it. It is a book we own, but I don't anticipate it as a read aloud soon.

    If it is too much for you to READ aloud The Long Winter to your family, maybe you could listen on audio. Thanks for the warning. Do you think it'd be too much for M? It's next up on our Little House list.

  4. I haven't read the first book, but I have read the second one. I had a difficult time with it as well - it brought back some elementary memories that weren't pretty for me. I also can relate with Wanda :)

    I love the Little House series, but haven't read them in a few years. Now might be a good time to pick them back up.

    BLessings to you this day :)

  5. We listened to The Long Winter in the car. This means that I listened to all of it and M listened to about 1/2 of it. She was clueless as to how we were actually listening to them starve nearly to death. It would have been incredibly hard to read aloud, but did work out well as an audio book. In a couple years we'll read these books...and that time I may need to turn to audio for this one.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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