My kids are back in school and I am excited to get back to sharing books with you. I have not spent a lot of time on this little piece of internet this summer, but, I have absolutely been reading. To transition into business as usual, I thought I’d start things off by highlighting my favorite books of the season.
Bod is an unusual boy who inhabits an unusual place—he's the only living resident of a graveyard. Raised from infancy by the ghosts, werewolves, and other cemetery denizens, Bod has learned the antiquated customs of his guardians' time as well as their ghostly teachings—such as the ability to Fade so mere mortals cannot see him.
Can a boy raised by ghosts face the wonders and terrors of the worlds of both the living and the dead?
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman was the most surprising book I read this summer. I thought it would be a story about ghosts and ghouls and other creepy things. It started out with a murder (no surprise there) and a baby who escapes to a cemetery (a little unexpected). It did not feel like a cheery plot was possible given the subject matter. Frankly, it was not the kind of book I normally look for. (I hate horror and most things creepy.)
There were some of the expected characters and creepiness. There was a journey to the gates of hell and a witch and a werewolf. The was a murderer at large and most of the book takes place in a cemetery. But, I found it to be more suspenseful than creepy and decided it was absolutely not a horror story. What it was really about took me by surprise. Turns out The Graveyard Book is a story about growing up and letting go.
Maybe it’s because it’s the first day of school as I write this, and in the midst of the happy for new beginnings this day always makes me feel a little sad. Nothing marks the passing of time like the first day of school. My kids continue to grow as much as I tell them not to.
I love this season of life. It is filled with challenges sure, but with my youngest starting 4th grade and my oldest a sophomore in high school I feel the end of this era with kids at home slipping through my fingers at way-to-fast a rate.
All seasons of life are good; this one is special. But, if I do my job right as a parent, I am raising and preparing my kids to leave home. Kids who are created on purpose for a purpose. Kids who are meant to be released into the world. It is a bitter sweet job. It is a job I love. I feel sad thinking about this season coming to a close.
The Graveyard Book captured that feeling. The ending made me cry. Not because it was sad, but because it was true.
After reading it, I can see why this book won all the awards (literally, it won so many awards!!). It has a unique storyline, characters you grow to love, and lots of adventure to keep the pages turning. But, while the adventures may be out of this world and beyond it, the theme and feelings woven throughout are so very down-to-earth and human.
It surprised me by being one of my favorite books of the summer. I want my kids to read it, but I have a feeling they may relate to the story on a different level than I did. Books mean different things to different people; there is nothing wrong with that.
Did you and/or your kids read anything this summer that caught you by surprise? I'd love to hear about it in the comments.