Shravan — my 11-year-old nephew — is my favourite librarian. When I was battling a terrible reading slump, he prescribed quite a few beautiful books. RJ Palacio’s Wonder, Jacqueline Woodson’s Locomotion, Jerry Spinelli’s Maniac Magee, and Stephen Pastis’s Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made. His medicines worked for me. I resumed reading with renewed love.
A couple of days ago, I sent a voice note to Shravan, asking for a recommendation. I am now in one of my greatest reading phases, but it’s been a long while since I discussed books with him, so I asked him to try his magic on me. The boy was nursing a fever. Despite the illness, he replied:
“Thichi, I haven’t been reading a lot, because I am sick,” he cleared his throat. His voice betrayed the fever. “But I still want to recommend a book. It’s called A Christmas Carol. I heard it’s a lovely book. It’s written by somebody called Charles Dicksen. I think you would love it.”
His innocence filled my heart with love. Just love. So much love.
I responded, “Oh! I haven’t read Charles Dicksen. I am going to do a little research and find out more about the book. Now, you rest well okay, Shravan?”
Maybe, you could argue with me — ‘You should have told him that it’s Dickens, Deepika!’
No. I won’t do that.
I won’t tell him that he had got the name wrong.
I won’t tell him that the book is 174-years-old.
I won’t tell him that I have heard so much about the book and that he should recommend something else.
I won’t kill a child’s joy of discovering new things, even if those discoveries are ancient in my world.
Instead, I would do this:
I will read the book.
I will write to him about the book.
I will wait for him to find out that it’s not Dicksen.
I will then thank myself for being patient and not discouraging a child by robbing off his chances to explore, discover, and work on his oversight by himself.
*smiles and adds Charles Dicksen’s A Christmas Carol to her TBR*