Characters We Carry With Us

Do you carry
Your characters with you,
As you
Carry on?

Do you keep
them in your pocket
or hold them
in your heart?

I do.

They are there
To relate to.
To learn more about.
To understand.
To be understood.
To make life,
Make sense.

I carry my characters with me.
I hold them in
My heart.
They are my friends
And I carry them
With me.

Your favorite books, the ones that sit in a place of honor on your bookshelf, are the books that you have read more than a million times because something about them feels right– they feel like home. They feel like home because of the setting. They feel like home simply because they have been read and re-read more times than you can count. But sometimes, they feel like home because of the characters. We can turn to these books and know that when we immerse ourselves in their pages that we will be with old friends.

Often the characters we love the most have been with us the longest. They come from the books we loved as children. Sara Crewe from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess, Winnie Foster in Natalie Babbitt’s Tuck Everlasting, Hattie Owen from Ann M. Martin’s A Corner of the Universe, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March form Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, the daughters and families of Heather Vogel Frederick’s The Mother-Daughter Book Club series, any of the girls in the American Girl series, and- of course- Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger (and every other character in those books) from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series are all examples of beloved characters and the list could go on. We love them as children but as we grow older we can understand them in new ways as we experience life.

As you go about your life do you ever find yourself thinking, “Oh, so this is how that character felt when…” or “this person reminds me of a certain character in that book
or maybe even “I wish I could be more like this character?”” I do. One of the best parts about reading is that as we read, we gain something that can never be lost. C. S. Lewis said that “We read to know we are not alone.” How true this is! In books we see characters with stories, with problems, with feelings, that are just like ours. We realize that we can relate to them, and the loneliness is lost in realization that someone else, fictional or not, understands. Am I alone in admiring Sara Crewe’s bravery, determination, or heart? Am I alone in admiring Jo March’s will to better herself or her individuality? Am I alone in admiring Harry Potter’s courage, loyalty, and love? I don’t think so. These traits are something that everyone admires and are one reason we love these character so much– we hope to be like them.

These characters, or friends, teach us lessons about life and help us understand the world. They can always be relied upon to be there to return to, whether you are upset or simply miss them. As J.K. Rowling said, “The stories we love best do live in us forever so whether you can come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”

I believe that characters too, will also always welcome us home because they never truly leave us.

-Stephanie R., 11th grade

Top Five Books to Read this Summer

Summer Vacation. For many of us, these two words are magic. From about the second day of school in September to the last day of school in June, summer vacation is highly anticipated by most students. We look forward to the endless free time to do with as we please– and without reading assignments from English class, the ability to read what we wish too.

If you are looking for a summer reading book, here are my top five (Which I have read this last year when I probably should have been doing math homework):

revolution_cover1. Revolution, by Jennifer Donnelly
A novel about a girl named Andi who finds a journal which takes her on a journey she would have ever expected. If you love: the French Revolution, music, Paris, or books that have strong, meaningful themes, then this is the book for you.

2. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
A novel about a girl living in Germany during World War II, told by an interesting and surprisingly sympathetic narrator. If you enjoy novels about World War II, stories about friendship, love, and compassion– if you are looking for a book that leaves a mark, a book that at the end of the story, haunts you after; then this is the book for you.

alice_wonderland_cover3. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll
Despite being thought of as a children’s book, Alice in Wonderland is a very smart, very funny novel. It is especially entertaining if you read it aloud and with voices. If you like novels that play with words, that make you question things, that make you laugh, and if you are reading aloud and using voices, makes you sound ridiculous, then this is the book for you.

4. Sophie’s World, by Jostein Gaarder
A novel about a girl who gets a letter from a strange, mysterious philosopher and begins to think in ways she never has before. If you enjoy philosophy, mystery books, or just thinking; if you have a high reading level and are at least fifteen; if you are looking for a book that may change the way you think about everything, then this is the book for you.

5. Your favorite book
Whatever it is, however long it is, you know you want to reread it. What better time is there to reread a book than during the summer?

For that matter, is there any season better for just reading than summer? I mean, without school eating up about seven hours of our day, we just may learn something new from the books we read this summer.

-Stephanie R., 11th grade