Sometimes when we read, we grieve together.


I vividly remember when we reached the end of Where the Red Fern Grows. ⁣

My husband snapped this photo weeks prior to that moment, when we were still able to smile.ðŸŦĢ ⁣

I knew what was coming (having already experienced that trauma and recovered from it, thank you very much ðŸĪŠ) but my boys did not. ⁣

I struggled to see the words through my tears and both boys were (obviously) wrecked. ⁣

We’ve read a lot of great books together. ⁣

Sometimes we laugh until we cry (Pippi-I could hardly breath I laughed so hard). ⁣

Sometimes we travel to distant lands, real and fantastical. ⁣

Sometimes we are challenged and we learn. ⁣

Sometimes we love fiercely and sometimes we’re exasperated. ⁣

But, the vividness of our memories of Where the Red Fern Grows are rooted in communal grief. ⁣

Sometimes, when we read, we grieve together. (Yes, you can absolutely grieve fictional dogs.) ⁣

When a book makes us cry together, whether because of grief or nostalgia or the touching of tender places, a few things are happening- ⁣

1️⃣ My boys are seeing vulnerability in me. They’re glimpsing my humanity. ⁣
2️⃣ We’re practicing the art of sitting together in the rawness and messiness of life and personhood and relationships and the world. That isn’t an art just instinctively known. It must be practiced and cultivated. ⁣
3️⃣ We’re stretching and growing our empathy muscles. We’re learning to see pain and suffering through the eyes of others, and that can only be caught, not taught. ⁣
4️⃣ We’re cultivating our moral and literary imaginations. We’re SEEING what can’t simply be said. ⁣
5️⃣ We’re becoming more emotionally literate. We’re crystallizing and clarifying what we’ve felt and what we currently feel in the way that only story can do. ⁣

Here’s a few more books that have made us cry together: ⁣
📖 The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate ⁣
📖 Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo ⁣
📖 The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo ⁣
📖 Pax by Sara Pennypacker ⁣
📖 several picture books by Patricia Palocco and Cynthia Rylant ⁣
📖 Charlotte’s Web (duh!) ⁣

For more tear jerking titles: ⁣

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