Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Magic of Magic

My eldest is in first grade now and starting to read transitional chapter books. For over a year his favorite literary journeys have included accompanying Jack and Annie of The Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborn to exotic times and places. He and my daughter have learned about medieval castles, volcanoes, the Terracotta Army, and the knights of Camelot. They've witnessed bravery, collaboration, and the utility of both research and action. They've learned that what you say actually does matter.

Since I have involved myself in the exploration of the series by reading or listening to the books together, I've been able to use the ideas from the stories as teaching tools. When my children argue, I have said, "Would Jack speak to Annie that way?" When I wanted to remind them to come when I call, I shout for Jack and Annie rather than scream my children's names and, taking on the characteristics of the fictional siblings they yell, "Coming Mommy," and race toward me. What's not to love?

Oh, that's right, there's magic. Shudder!

My children might learn to believe in magic. They might believe the impossible -- Maybe like Edison did before he invented the lightbulb. Or maybe they will not simply dream the unthinkable, but, like Martin Luther King try to enact it. Perhaps through the magics of creativity, of reason, of bravery and action they can change their lives, and others', for the better.

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