Thursday, March 21, 2013

When Books Start Great Conversations...

My 10yo has been on this really big theatre kick lately. She's got a major role in her school opera this year and she's been checking out lots of books about theatre. From tips about stage makeup to the kids' versions of different Shakespeare plays, she's absorbing whatever she can find. So when Tim Federle's BETTER NATE THAN NEVER released, it seemed like a perfect choice for her.

Nate Foster has big dreams. His whole life, he’s wanted to star in a Broadway show. (Heck, he'd settle for *seeing* a Broadway show.) But how is Nate supposed to make his dreams come true when he’s stuck in Jankburg, Pennsylvania, where no one (except his best pal Libby) appreciates a good show tune? With Libby’s help, Nate plans a daring overnight escape to New York. There's an open casting call for E.T.: The Musical, and Nate knows this could be the difference between small-town blues and big-time stardom.

And she completely loved it. But here was my favorite part of dinner last night:

10yo: Mom, that book was so good, but I couldn't figure out one thing: when Nate was at school, some kids were bullying him and calling him gay.
8yo: What's gay?
10yo: You know gay. Like when you love someone who's your same gender.
8yo: Oh, like XX's two moms at church.
10yo: Yeah, or XX's two dads at school. Or mom's friends XX.
8yo: I love someone of my same gender…Dad.
10yo: Dude, not that kind of love. The kind of love where you want to eat someone's mouth. (yes, this is now how my 10yo daughter figures out real love…grumble)
Me: That's right, sort of. So I don't get what the problem with the book was.
10yo: Well, I'm not sure he was gay.
Me: Is that important?
10yo: I guess not. But he's really young, how does he know who he's going to love yet?
Me: I don't know. Some people do know what gender they like, even if they don't know the exact person. But I'm not sure that was the author's point.
10yo: Yeah, it was probably more about the bullying.
8yo: I don't know if I'm going to marry a boy or a girl yet.
5yo: I do. I'm going to marry XX. She's coming to my house on July 17th.
10yo: Dude, you have no idea what you're talking about. Can I have more chicken?

And thus it went. I said almost nothing. My kids figured it all out around me. And I am ever grateful for Tim Federle and his lovely book for starting an awesome discussion. 


Mandie Baxter said...

I love your family. And I chuckled a bit at the "eat their mouth". Sorry. But they are very observant for their age. I think mines going to be like that. He already picks up on way too much. Great job, mom! Letting them figure it out and make their own decisions.

Ghenet Myrthil said...

I love this! Your kids sound wonderful. So great that they could have this kind of discussion on their own. :)

Suzi said...

That's great. Kids can be so smart sometimes.

I love all the Dudes from your daughter. And the eat your mouth thing. Too funny.

Elodie said...

Well..your daughter can use very visual writing about kissing :D

I love love love this conversation...if only more people would be like your kids, or more precisely remember how they were as kiddos, the world could be a much better place!


Kelley Lynn said...

Oh kids are so precious. :)

Matthew MacNish said...

Most. Adorable. Thing. Ever.

But opera? Now that's beyond awesome.

Rebecca said...

What your 10yo said about love? So funny.

I haven't read the book, but I heard great things about it. Thanks for sharing this :)