R. who is (somehow) now 5 picked out Uri Shulevitz’s memoir Chance: Escape from the Holocaust from the library which was (I suppose appropriately) shelved in the children’s section as it is pitched at an older young adult reader. Anyway, I’m pretty shrug shrug to whatever the kid brings home to read – we’ve read a lot of garbage Little Critter books and a lot of much to adult books about dragons as a consequence – but in this case I thought I’d give it a quick go over before reading it to him (something I have truly not done before – which results in a lot of adapted stories let me tell you).
And not that I won’t read it to him, but maybe not at 5. He is still, after all, afraid of giants and requires illustrations with ‘angry eyes’ to be covered up, so not sure he’s ready for the steady description of a family of Jewish refugees from Poland through Soviet Russia (and back again) during WWII. Like the descriptions are never super graphic, but the relentless hunger, terror, uncertainty and sudden death of loved ones… might be a lot.
It does make me wonder when the right time might be to read books to him (or the other kid) that are… difficult. Like we’ve been reading books that explore racism, or violence, or death or other manner of hard stuff forever – in (I like to think) age appropriate and supported ways. But eventually he will be ‘ready’ for a book like this one – where the fate of the author is genuine chance (or maybe God, but you know, chance) and he’ll have to sit with that. I guess I’ll just leave it to school to figure it out. Ha ha.
But seriously – how have you figured out when to read something with a younger person that might be Hard? Or when have you yourself approached a challenging topic and what did you need to read through it well?