Lessons from Books

Last night while putting Piper to sleep, we had one of those conversations where it definitely makes it seem worthwhile that I have to lay down with her while she goes to sleep. Sometimes I think I can hear the wheels turning while she’s laying there in the dark.

As she’s getting older, we’ve been kind of pushing at the edges of the topics in the chapter books we read. About 2 days ago, I decided she was probably ready for the American Girl books that came with her dolls so we started Nellie’s Promise. The book is set in 1906, and Nellie and her 2 sisters became orphans when their parents both died of influenza. At that time, children were placed with the closest relative regardless of parental qualifications. In this case, it was Uncle Mike, the father’s brother, who proceeded to gamble and drink away all of the children’s money, put them to work in a factory, and then abandon them in the middle of January. I know, heavy stuff for a 5-year old. At the time of the story however, Nellie and her sisters have been rescued by friend Samantha (also an orphan) and are living with her well-off aunt and uncle. Unfortunately, Uncle Mike sees Nellie well-dressed and threatens to take her and her sisters back. Of course all works out in the end, but the story definitely provide much food for thought.

Piper was not happy about Uncle Mike and the fact that someone would have the audacity to treat children that way. This lead to a discussion of:

The differences in adoption today and then.

What would happen if something happened to her parents.

What would happen if her parents divorced.

How some people are not nice and can be very selfish.

How even though it is important to take care of yourself, it’s also important to treat other people well.

She handled the above amazingly well. Note for her aunts and uncles… She thinks you’re all pretty nice. šŸ™‚ The really cool thing though, was the connection she made with another book we just read, Caddie Woodlawn. When we were talking about how it’s important to think about how the things you do affect others and not be selfish, she said

“Like in that other book we read.”

“Caddie Woodlawn?”


“Which part?”

“The part where she spent her whole silver dollar on the 3 little children who’s mommy left.”


“You know what, Mommy, she got something too.”

“She did.”

“She got caring.”


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