Good Books Make You Cry

Lately, I've been reading books for their lack of depth. Generally it's been all fluff and silliness, because it's what I have time for. If you know me well, you know that I tend to really get into books when I read. Once I threw my copy of John Grisham's "The Firm" across the room out of nervousness. And if the book is good enough, I can stay up until all hours of the night until I'm done with it.

Well, with student teaching, work, and just life in general, it's been easier to indulge in stuff like chick-lit and Christian romances. I've had no time to have my emotions stirred too deeply while reading. Not that the books I've read haven't been good. I've enjoyed all of them, and would recommend most of them.

But this morning, since school was still cancelled because of all the ice and snow, I sat down to read one of the Texas Bluebonnet Award books. The kids had to vote on their favorite last week, and a few of the books' descriptions peaked my interest. So I borrowed a few from the library.

It took me a little under two hours to read "Umbrella Summer" by Lisa Graff, but can I just say that I probably have not been so moved by a book in a while?

Each chapter had tears welling in my eyes, and as I got closer to the end, drops actually began to fall on my pillow. In fact, I'm still a bit teary-eyed thinking about that book. And it's not like it's heart-wrenchingly sad or anything. In fact, there's quite a few humor-filled moments. It's just that Lisa Graff was able to capture and show sadness, grief and mourning so well, while mingling it with the hope that comes from moving on.

"Umbrella Summer" is a story about Annie, a 10-year-old girl who has recently lost her brother. Her whole family is grieving his loss in their own way--dad has become closed off and absentminded, mom has become uptight and wants no mention of her dead son, and Annie... well, Annie has become a hypochondriac of sorts and is over-obsesses about being careful and safe.

Through the help of a new neighbor, E.B White's "Charlotte's Web," and other's in her neighborhood Annie begins to learn something important. When it rains, you need your umbrella to protect you from the falling drops, but eventually you need to close your umbrella otherwise you'll miss out on the sunshine.

Simply put, it was a beautiful story.

I also finished reading "Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl." I liked it--Anne was a very thoughtful girl, and a good writer! I'm interested in reading the little stories she wrote while in hiding. While reading through each entry, I was most curious about what her last one would be. And Miss Anne didn't disappointed--it's almost like she knew she wouldn't be able to write again. Her last few entries were probably the most beautiful. While the diary itself didn't make me cry, its Afterword did. Throughout the book, I felt like I grew to know Anne. As if she were my friend. And then reading about how the family was shipped to Auschwitz, split up, and how one by one Mrs. Frank, Anne's sister Margot, and eventually Margot succumbed to sickness and died was so sad!

I'm off to read another Bluebonnet book, "11 Birthdays." I wonder if it'll make me cry, too.

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