The library had been advertising an event for some time: "Come meet Olivia
and Junie B. Jones
!" At the circulation desk, one of the librarians asked GL if he was planning to go. He got very excited about it, so I signed him up. We were only vaguely aware of Olivia, but GL loves listening to Junie B. audiobooks
. (They aren't quite as good as the Clementine
books, but there are a lot more of them. They're beyond his reading level and, while entertaining, aren't quite interesting enough for me to read aloud. )
I wasn't paying much attention, but I somehow got the impression that someone (maybe a talented student from the local high school?) would pretend to be these characters. We got there and found out it was Storytime. GL loves Storytime, but we had stopped taking him because he was above the recommended age, though at the appropriate developmental level. There wasn't a policy, but some librarians seemed to believe there should be an age cutoff. Also, while he loves read-alouds, he makes them a highly interactive experience. In other words, he doesn't listen quietly.
Most of the kids there were preschoolers, (I think the oldest might have been in first grade,) and most of their parents looked like kids to me. When did early twenties get so young? So GL (12), BB (10) and I sat in an out of the way corner. One of the older librarians read several books from the Juv Easy collection, and played a chapter from a Junie B. CD. Each book was part of a series about one central character, with a cast of recurring characters. Just what kids like. When kids (and many adults) read a book they like, the first thing they want to do is read ten more books just like the one they read.
The boys loved it. Some of the kids looked askance at them, especially at GL, but other than answering every question as if it were directed to him and not to the group, he wasn't a distraction. The librarian didn't seem to mind. Most of them are used to us by now, and are starting to realize that we do more to boost circulation (which is how their funding is calculated) than all the other families on our block put together.
At the end of the program, the librarian explained that there were more books from each of these series spread around the reading room, and the kids could check them out. GL immediately got up and tried to collect them all. I insisted that he leave enough for the other kids. He did, but I still think he got more than his fair share. That's nothing new, he always wants to check out more library books.
But the next day, after school, on his own volition, he picked up a Froggy
book and began to read. He needed help with some words, but he read the whole thing. Then he read two Olivia
books, and a Five Little Monkeys
book. He read aloud for enjoyment for nearly two hours! He likes to look at books, but it's usually a struggle to get him to read easier books than these for fifteen minutes in school.
After OT, we stopped at the library, returned the books he had finished, and asked for more in these series. I told the librarian about his suddenly deciding to read these on his own, even though they were difficult for him, and she was enthused, too. We agreed that part of the appeal was that at some point in every book so far, Froggy forgets his pants. When you're twelve, underwear is funny
. She helped us find some more, and GL said, "Thank you, Mrs. Librarian!" (That's what he calls all of them.)
Today, he is finished with school, and reading more Froggy
. Of course, he kept insisting that 6+1=9 this morning, but for now, we'll take it!
Labels: autism, Books