Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Girls Who Wear Glasses

Some people look great in glasses. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them. Never have been. I don't look particularly good in hats either but that's a story for another day. I'll never forget the day in 5th grade when my math teacher suggested I get my eyes checked because I was having trouble seeing the board from the back of the classroom. I remember testing my eyesight wherever I could in the days leading up to my checkup. I vividly remember the checkup, particularly the part when my eye doctor glanced at my mom and subtly nodded, at which point I burst into tears. I already had braces and acne and I was very tall for my age and up until that moment, didn't think life could get any worse! It did but then it got better. Eventually, it got a lot better. When I think back to those days, it gives me conviction and credibility when I assure my kids that no matter what's gnawing at them, it really does get better.

Among the measures that saved me were contact lenses. To this day, I can't imagine my life without them. But now I'm in my forties (well into my forties) and one of the things that starts happening is that, much like the rest of you, your eyes start to dry up. I am eternally indebted to the person who invented eye drops! Another thing that happens is that you start having trouble seeing things up close. And this one stinks because the only solution for this problem is GLASSES! Yes, I have entered the reading glasses phase of my life and I'm not entirely comfortable there yet. For the past several years, my eye doctor's first question at my annual eye checkup has been "how are you doing with reading?" Just fine, thank you. But not really. At least not anymore. After a year of asking one of my daughters to read menus to me at restaurants and squinting to the point of nearly shutting my eyes when I read, I stopped by the corner drugstore and quietly bought a pair of reading glasses. It took me back a million years to the first time I went shopping for glasses, which now that I think about it, affected me much the same way as shopping for bathing suits does - tears and ice cream, that's all I'm saying! I have to admit, though, that it's nice to know what you're ordering when you go out to dinner and a good story is a whole lot better if there's no physical pain to the reader (not to mention wrinkles; yet another story for another day). Still, I wasn't ready to go public with my new not-so-spectacular look until I was about to take the stage to give closing remarks at the 2011 Children's Choice Book Awards gala on May 2 and I realized that my vanity was less important than correctly reading the names of the many outstanding children's book authors and illustrators who joined us that night - people like Jarrett Krosoczka, Jon Scieszka, Katherine Paterson, Rick Riordan, Jeff Kinney, Laurie Halse Anderson, Suzanne Collins, Walter Dean Myers, R.L. Stine, Rebecca Stead, Holly Black, Cassandra Clare and many, many more. There are now photographs of me from that night, sporting my reading glasses, on the Internet. There's no going back now. That's okay, it's easier to participate in a world that you see clearly!

There are many books for young kids who wear glasses and while it would be easy to send you in that direction with a book recommendation, that's not what I intend to do. If you're looking for that type of book for an early elementary school age kid, try the Charlie and Lola book bu Lauren Child on the subject (I Really Absolutely Must Have Glasses). Here, though, I want to let you know about a fantasy novel for middle graders called Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jone. This talented author sadly passed away at the end of March but left behind quite a legacy in the way of a treasure trove of wonderfully written books for children. This one has magic, an enchanted house, humor, fabulous and quirky characters and a great story. It has nothing whatsoever to do with glasses but it has the word "glass" in the title and like all good stories, it's a way of "seeing" and experiencing life

1 comment:

  1. This days I even read this blog with a reading glasses. Did I mention that the reading glasses is on top of my contacts ?
    welcome 40's.