One of the things that makes me most proud is Alyssa’s love of reading.
When school is in session, she usually has two books going at once — one that she keeps in her backpack for the bus and free time at school, and another that she reads at home.
One of her happiest days was in second grade when she got her library card.
This year, the third grade check-out limit at the school library wasn’t to her liking, so she successfully lobbied the librarian to move her up to the fifth grade check-out limit.
She is crazy about books. Her favorite genre is fantasy, and her new favorite author is Kate O’Hearn, celebrated author of the Pegasus series.
Alyssa happened upon the first of the Pegasus books at the school book fair and had it read within a week. Then she re-read it. That was months ago, but she has never stopped talking about the characters and what happened to them, and what else might happen to them if there was just more of the story.
Last week, we went to Barnes and Noble. She’d only been to a bookstore once before, and this one — a two story building with escalators — was almost more than she could stand. You couldn’t have pried her from that little Adirondack chair with a crowbar. You know why? Because she found a second Pegasus book. We had no idea.
That was on Wednesday night. She finished it Friday morning of the same week because apparently, she is a marathon speed reader.
So Friday morning, after summarizing every plot turn of the entire 389-page sequel to me, and then rehashing the first one in case I had forgotten, Alyssa asked me to go online and see if there was a third book. Surely if there was a first and second, it would only make sense to have a third.
And guess what. She was right. Please, she said. Please, please, pretty please would I order it for her.
How can you not say yes to a kid who begs for books instead of video games?
And then I saw it. The thing I didn’t see when I pulled it up on the screen. The thing I only saw after I had said yes.
It won’t be released until February 2014.
I tried to explain this to her.
“It says you can order it. Right there in blue letters,” she argued.
But you won’t get it till next year. It won’t be out until next year.
She was undeterred, with a pitch that was nearing squeak level. “It says freeeeee two day shippinggggg!”
After a long and complicated explanation of publishing practices and how that neat little preordering option worked, she finally gave up the argument.
She went back to rehashing story lines and wondering what would happen in the third book. She guessed it would be the best yet. Then she decided to write Kate O’Hearn a letter. Because Kate O’Hearn is her very favorite author. Because even though she has read a lot of books and likes a lot of authors, none of them are as good as Kate O’Hearn.
And that made me proud, too — that she would sit down and take the initiative to hand write a letter to someone she admired.
She worked for more than an hour, writing a rough draft and then a final draft in ink. When she finished, she handed it to me, beaming, and asked for an envelope.
And then I read it.
Here are some other qualities that I generally admire in Alyssa: She is only nine, yet she is direct. She says what she thinks with no candy-coating. She lets people know her expectations up front. And for the most part, she’s not intimidated by anyone. Not even Kate O’Hearn, evidently.
Did I mention that loving to read is the only trait Alyssa got from me?
The funny thing is, Alyssa usually accomplishes whatever she sets her mind to. It’s why I generally admire those traits she has.
We’re anxious to see if she hears anything from her favorite author. We mailed it only a few days ago, but she’s already keeping her eye on the mailbox.
So get to it, Kate. Alyssa is waiting.
I’m linking up with the weekend Moonshine Grid for the first time ever over at Yeah Write!