Thursday, July 28, 2011

Orphan Lit

Katherine has been reading a LOT this summer.  That's no real surprise, of course, but it has been fun to see what she reads.  Over the past year she discovered the American Girl books and has fallen madly in love with historical fiction (which I am happy to encourage!).  She's read nearly every book in the entire series and we've had some interesting discussions about the characters and events that happen to them.  Late this spring she mentioned that one of the main characters in one of the books was an orphan and we talked a little about that.  This summer, she discovered simplified versions of classic children's books (which are often rather difficult to read, although the stories are wonderful).  Her bookshelf now holds The Secret Garden, Ann of Green Gables, Heidi, and The Jungle Book.  All are fabulous books and all are about orphans.  Katherine has discovered Orphan Lit.  When I thought about it, the theme of orphan overcoming obstacles is huge in literature!  And while I love the characters in these books, Katherine connects with them in a very personal way.  We have had on-going conversations about orphans and even the meaning of the word "orphan".  We've talked about how Mowgli and Mary Lennox were a traditional kind of orphan, someone who parent's have died, and how she was once a different kind of orphan, one who's birth parents could not care for her.  We've talked about how important it is to have a family and how the orphans in those books found or created their own kind of families, even if they were different from most people's.  It has been a great way to talk about her life and it is clear that she has taken on these characters as part of her support system.  Samantha and Mary, Ann, Heidi, and Mowgli are her friends.  I think the subject of orphans will continue.  At least I hope it does.  Because down the road there are so many other wonderful orphan characters to introduce Katherine to.  There's Harry Potter, of course, and Ponyboy in The Outsiders and Lily in The Secret Life of Bees and.....

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Park Pictures
The little one leads the way