You’ve Got Mail, Again

November 5th, 2013 by melissa y.

I believe you would be hard-pressed to find a children’s book blogger that doesn’t list You’ve Got Mail as one of their favorite movies.  We have blogged about this movie before, pointing out the fact that the plot seems ironic 15 years later. When Nora Epron wrote this movie, she was raging against a Barnes & Noble going up in her Upper West Side neighborhood.  She was worried that it would put the independent bookstore, Shakespeare and Co., out of business (it did).  How could we have known then that the big box bookstores would later become endangered species, too?

Each of my children have been treated to a viewing of this movie.  It is a right of passage in our house and I am proud to say that when my tween daughter needs a cozy day on the couch, she often chooses this movie for us.   Recently, it was my youngest son’s turn for his first viewing.  We had started the movie over the weekend (free on Amazon Prime Video, by the way) and last night after dinner my son turned to me and said, “Mom, why don’t we finish You’ve Got Mail tonight?”  That little one sure knows the way to my heart!

There are so many parts in this movie I could claim to be my favorite, but as a former teacher, a parent, and a children’s book blogger, there is one scene that always resonates the most.  When Kathleen Kelly, proprietor of the Little Shop Around the Corner, is defending her bookstore against the big, bad Fox Books, she says:

I mean, I started helping my mother after school here when I was six years old, and I used to watch her.  And it wasn’t that she was just selling books.  It was that she was helping people become whoever it was they were going to turn out to be.  Because when you read a book as a child, it becomes part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does…

“When you read a book as a child, it becomes part of your identity.”  Let’s sit with that for a moment.  I have vivid memories of books from my childhood.  I remember where I was when I read them and I remember how they affected me.  I remember my mother (an english teacher, no less!) telling me to put the book down and get some sun.  Books were my escape, my joy, and sometimes my best friends.

Do our children have this relationship with books and stories?  Are we allowing it?  Protecting it?  There is so much noise in their lives coming from their televisions, computers, tablets and mobile phones.  I think we are in real danger of allowing these things to become part of our children’s identity instead of books.  Wouldn’t that be a shame?

So I think we have to remember the Story Lady’s words…and give our children the time and space to simply immerse themselves in a book.


Posted in Parenting & Reading, Random Book Thoughts

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