The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma …

“That is the best part of all, after all; even better than holding, touching, smelling, and hugging new books is taking them home and reading them in your own bed, under your own covers, with your own lamp shining beside you until someone yells for you to turn it off and get some sleep.”

Usually, that someone would be my husband. Last night the book of choice was The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared which details the participation of James Brozina and his daughter Alice in The Streak: 3,218 days (almost 9 years) of reading together every single day, without fail. On one level, this is a humorous, but loving look at the quirky relationship between an eccentric, single father and his daughter while on another level this is a manifesto, of sorts, for the value of childhood reading … specifically reading aloud. As someone who has studied and worked in the education field, I appreciated the message Alice imparts regarding the importance of reading, but I think I was most captivated by story of this pair’s relationship. What I wouldn’t have given to have my father read to me on a Streak … well, at all, really. As a child, I saw my father a couple of times a year and have not seen him once since I was 21 … 14 years. James Brozina is quite a man: someone who can eulogize a fish like nobody’s business, someone who can deal with middle school phobias involving the dead body of JFK, someone who will show up at play practice at 11:45PM to read to his daughter in the parking lot to make sure The Streak is not broken, someone who will read picture books aloud to the elderly … someone who keeps a promise:

“I promise to tell everyone I know how reading calms me down, riles me up, makes me think, or helps me get to sleep at night. I promise to read, and read to someone, as long as human thought is still valued and there are still words to be shared. I promise to be there for books, because I know they will always be there for me.”

What is your reading promise?