As a school librarian, I read The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo to my third grade class. They loved it.
Trying to find a book to read to them after we finished Despereaux was met with a lot of shaking heads – they simply couldn’t compete. One student summed it up best: “I miss Despereaux.”
”I miss him too,” I said.
”You know what? I was going to talk about something completely different during class, but I love what you just said, so let’s talk about that today.” This led to one of the best moments of my teaching career. And this is how it began:
“Think about this:
There are twenty-six letters in our alphabet that form words, to make sentences, that become paragraphs, to create a story.
And within this story lives a character, written in such a beautiful, compelling, thoughtful, and very real way, that we miss him when we finish the book.
That is the power of a great story. And that is the gift of a great writer.”
This is what we talked about for an hour of our day: All of our favorite characters that we missed when we finished the book.
So, when you’ve read the bedtime story hundreds of times it’s only because someone (or something) has captured your child’s heart and to say goodbye is simply too much. So instead, as the story ends, the characters tucked within the pages of the book, you hear your child whisper, “goodnight, see you tomorrow.”
And your heart soars.