Reading is a Passport to New

By Gabriella Laluz

The Boring Book

“It has 64 pages, why is this book so long?” I asked my mother. She looked at me in frustration and let out a sigh. “Oh Gabriella, please don’t give me a hard time. Please just read it,” she begged. I responded with, “But it seems boring. Who decided to call it The Giving Tree anyway?” Being the stubborn 8-year-old I was, I, in fact, did not read it, at least not yet. I thought to myself, This isn’t reading homework my 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Harris gave me, so why read it? I found it completely pointless to take interest in an activity, such as reading literacy, that did not involve playing with Barbies or American Girl Dolls.

Reading Throughout School

As a kid, you never really grasp the importance of reading or writing. Of course, my English teachers would emphasize the importance of completing my reading homework, but did I listen? No. “Don’t forget to read pages 12-26 for homework tonight,” Mrs. Harris would yell as we all ran out of her classroom at 2:10 p.m. on a Friday. There’s no way she expects me to read on a weekend, I thought to myself. The book assigned to read over the weekend was Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I don’t know if it was the cover that interested me or pure boredom that came over me, but I decided to actually read this book. I came to realize that this book was about a little boy named Auggie Pullman who was born with a severe facial difference. This facial difference ultimately prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Believe it or not, this was one of the first books I’ve read that I actually enjoyed. I enjoyed it so much I even read over the assigned reading. That following Monday, Mrs. Harris asked, “Who would like to summarize what they read?” I instantly raised my hand and proceeded to summarize. She was impressed, to say the least.

After Wonder

Who would've thought I would have finished a 310 page book? I would like to think it was for entertainment and for fun, not just because it was assigned reading. After finishing the book, I felt empty. Empty in terms of having nothing left to do. Sure, this book made an impact on me, but I did not know where to turn next. Would I be called a nerd for liking to read? Would I get bullied? What would my friends think? were consistent questions running laps in my head. As an 8-year-old, you don’t really know common sense, nor do you know what a true friend is, so why would it matter if anyone knew that I like to read? After brushing off these questions, I got off my school bus, ran into my room, and surprisingly, I picked up one of the few books in my collection, The Giving Tree.

The Giving Tree

I picked up the vibrant, green-colored book and opened the cover. I then began to read. I was shocked to see that on each page it consisted of 1-3 sentences max. Is this what I considered a long book? This is nothing compared to Wonder, I thought to myself. I read and I read, flipping the pages being unbothered if I gave myself a papercut. I was so emotionally attached to this book, nothing mattered, not even my own pain. If you haven’t read this book, the plot follows the life of a boy and an apple tree who seem to construct a relationship with one another. The tree is extremely giving and the boy develops into an extremely "taking" teenager, middle-aged man, and finally into an elderly man. Despite the fact that the boy ages in the story, the tree addresses the boy as "boy" throughout his entire lifespan. The overall message is to convey that giving, and making individuals that you love happy, can be more rewarding and bring a sense of gratification than receiving any gift. Although I was only 8 when I read this book, its message and overall theme still follow me. After reading the last page, I slammed the book shut and bawled my eyes out. I ran to my mom and gave her the biggest hug, dragging my tears across her shoulder. Who knew a book could make me feel so much? Who knew that this book I read almost 10 years ago would hold such an impact on me at 20 years old? Who knew that this was only the beginning of my reading journey?

My Current Reading Experience

If you were to tell me in elementary school I’ve read over 125 books, I would have looked at you like you have 5 heads. I currently enjoy reading romance novels, horror/mystery, and utopian books. I believe reading enjoyable and exceptional books help me understand, as well as help me feel understood. I’ve never really been a fan of music, which I know a lot of people use to cope, relax, and even relate to. My “music” is reading. When I read, my mind comes up with descriptions of these fictional characters and settings, very much like having a dream and seeing it being written on paper. After reading a good book, I tend to be left with a mix of emotions that can range from heartsick to joyful.

Reading Literacy

English is now one of my best yet favorite subjects. Reading is super beneficial in many aspects. This can range from improving focus as well as the ability to empathize, memorize, and communicate. I feel like reading has helped tremendously with my writing; of course, there is always room for improvement. I love this book is now a consistent thought I have. I am forever grateful my mom purchased this book for me at such a young age. I hope one day you find a good book that makes you feel the same way I do about reading literacy because it, in fact, is not pointless and is now one of my favorite activities.

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