profound reads

One of life's little pleasures is when I read something so touching and profound in a kid's book. Even a small Shel Silverstein poem has moved me and warmed my heart.

Most recently I read THE WEDNESDAY WARS by Gary D. Schmidt, a very unsuspecting middle grade read with a boy protagonist. I never expected to be so touched by the thoughts of a pre-teen boy, but I was. Here is the passage:

"When gods die, they die hard. 
It's not like they fade away, or grow old, or fall asleep. 
They die in fire and pain, 
and when they come out of you, 
they leave your guts burned. 
It hurts more than anything you can talk about. 
And maybe worst of all is, 
you're not sure if there will ever be another god to fill their place. 
Or if you'd ever want another god to fill their place. 
You don't want the fire to go outside of you twice."

See what I mean? That is so beautiful. If I saw this passage independent of it's context, my first guess would not be that this was from a middle grade book. Although, I am always reminded of Madeline L'Engle and her insight. To paraphrase, she said that if a book is too difficult to write for adults, write it for children. 

The wonderful and beautiful thing about passages like this, is that they mean so many different things to so many different readers. They mean different things to even the same reader. I am an obsessive underliner and often when I am looking at the same book a few months or a few years later, I get a totally fresh understanding of the passage or of a completely different passage altogether. 

I know that the middle grade reader who takes away something from that same book or passage will take it with them for their entire lives.


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