Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Guest Blogger: My Daughter

Today I bring you thoughts from a kid who loves to read. She started when she was three and has rarely been found without a book since. Now in high school, her interests vary from science to poetry to politics and she continues to read and reread in many different genres. She has a way with words herself. Today her writing is once again being published in a cool underground school newspaper with the byline the Marquis de Carabas. How does the Marquis rock the Quiz Bowl? Well, she reads (and listens to) nonfiction, of course.

From the Marquis de Carabas:

I love collecting random factoids. This is both for my own amusement and for the looks I get when I share them with people. Sometimes, though, it’s just as enjoyable to figure out out where the facts came from in the first place. Some of the facts come from massive books of lists and almanacs that I’ve accumulated, but the majority of them come from two places: a children’s audio magazine that my family still subscribes to, and two or three picture books that I’ve reread multiple times.

The audio magazine, “Boomerang”, is chock-full of science, history, and current events, giving a broad overview of each topic. However, it goes in-depth enough so that the issue is interesting both for kids and adults, and it held my attention long enough for me to learn quite a lot. I remember listening to our very first issue, which featured a story on Tiananmen Square, and being enthralled. I didn’t understand the details of what happened or exactly what Communism was, but it piqued my interest enough for me to want to learn more about it. Some of the stories on Boomerang were about topics that I probably never would’ve researched on my own, and realizing this instilled in me a desire to learn about anything and everything.

Before my family started listening to Boomerang, my mother bought me “G is for Googol” by David Schwartz. I’ve read that book and its sequel, “Q is for Quark”, so many times that I can probably list the chapters in alphabetical order. The books not only taught me about mathematical and scientific concepts that I hadn’t known about, but also allowed me to realize how good it felt to be able to learn them on my own. Knowledge-wise, the books were a great help, but the fact that they were fun to read made me hungry for more.

The first science book I ever read was about space- "Voyager to the Planets", by Harry G. Allard. It had beautiful photos taken by the spacecraft on their way past the four gas giants. Coupled with the story, the book was wonderful, and I still look at it sometimes. Later, I read Seymour Simon's books on the planets, and was officially hooked. I love astronomy now, and a lot of what I know stems from the picture books I read when I was six. Even though the books were enhanced by reading I did later, the core of my knowledge- and my desire to gain more- is from the books that I loved when I was younger. Knowing that makes me smile.


Linda Zajac said...

Wow Marquis, I'm pretty impressed. I never heard of Boomerang, but it certainly sounds intriguing. I'll bet that love of reading is making you a very good student.

Jeannine Atkins said...

I love this sentence: I love astronomy now, and a lot of what I know stems from the picture books I read when I was six.

When I need to understand a difficult concept, I often look at nonfiction picture books for kids first. And for those random factions you mention, too! Thanks for writing here!

Anonymous said...

I'm another who likes to first peruse kids' nonfiction when I have a difficult topic to understand :) It was great fun reading this -- both L and D :D

Michelle said...

I think it's great that you were able to gain so much information, and so much of a love for reading at such a young age. I plan to be a teacher, and I hope to instill such a love for reading in my students. I hope that I will be able to choose books to have available for them that will make them as interested in learning as the books you read as a child did for you.