Why I Read Books That Make My Children Cry

I'm a homeschool mom of a child living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). I take every chance I can to share my love of books and reading with my children. Just like real life, books can be full of sorrow, heartbreak, and devastating tragedy. Some parents may shy away from reading books that make their children cry, but that is not the case for me.

So why do I read books that make my children cry?

Social Awareness and Understanding

If you have known me for any length of time, you know that I am a self-proclaimed book hoarder. My house is living proof that this proclamation is absolutely true. I have eight bookcases stuffed full of books. I have piles of books stacked on mantels, bedside tables, in closets, and pretty much anywhere else I can put them. There is no such thing as too many books, and nothing will change my mind on this matter. By now I am sure you have figured out that I am a crazy book lady.

My youngest son, Jack, is living with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Among a number of other challenges, he struggles with social cues and awareness. One of the best ways I have found to help my son better understand the world around him is to read aloud as much as possible. Books present a number of different circumstances and emotions that he may not understand or know how to properly respond to.

For example, while reading Wonder he was introduced to Auggie. Auggie is a fifth-grade boy with a rare condition called Treacher Collins syndrome. He is about to start his first year at Beecher Prep. Due to his Treacher Collins syndrome and twenty-seven surgeries, Auggie has a severe facial deformity. As you can imagine, the other students didn't treat Auggie the best when he started his new school, and his new journey is an emotional roller coaster.

Everything about Auggie and his life was a completely foreign idea to Jack. As a result of listening to Auggie’s story, he learned just how hard life can be for people who look or act differently. After some great discussions, Jack has learned how important it is to treat people nicely and to not draw attention to someone’s differences. As an added bonus, my other children now better understand some of the challenges their own brother faces.

Family Connection

Why I Read Books That Make My Children CryBecause of reading emotional books aloud to my children we have grown closer as a family. Together we:

  • Laughed when Auggie dishes it back to Julian in Wonder
  • Sat on the edge of seats wondering if Peeta is alive or not after warning Katniss that The Capitol is coming in Mockingjay
  • Ugly cried when we discovered the tragic truth about Snape’s double life in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Through all of the ups and downs of our favorite characters, my children know that I am there for them. We are able to have in-depth discussions about what is happening. We do not only talk about how the characters are feeling, but how we are feeling as well. I get to hold my children when a character’s tragedy is almost too much to bear. They know that they will always have a shoulder to cry on and a tissue to wipe their sadness away. When you live through so many emotions with someone, it truly does bring you closer together.

Preparedness

For the most part, my children have lived a charmed life. However, one day, real life will sneak up on them when they are least expecting it. I want my children to be prepared for anything life may throw at them. That doesn’t mean I want them to personally experience any of it too soon. But by being emotionally invested in the books we are reading, my children are learning how to handle the unexpected. They now know that there can be life after loss, happiness after sorrow, and peace after conflict. Most importantly they know to cherish the life they have because so many people are not as fortunate as they are.


About the Author

Roxanne Raiche

Roxanne Raiche is a book hoarding, coffee loving, homeschooling mama of three in Iron Mountain, Michigan. She is the voice behind Homework and Horseplay, where she shares her homeschool journey and Tea Time Tuesdays.

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