I read a lot of children’s literature – everything from picture books to middle school and high school fiction.Â As long as I’m a children’s reading specialist, it is part of my job.Â It is also something I enjoy immensely.Â Oftentimes children’s literature is better than adult literature.
This afternoon I’m reading a novel by Gary D. Schmidt entitledÂ Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy.Â It was a Newbery Honor Book in 2005.Â It’s for upper elementary/junior high kids.Â I’m just a couple chapters into the book, but I came across a conversation that fascinated me.Â
In the story, Turner is a preacher’s son in the early 1900’s who has just moved to a new town.Â Shortly after moving, heÂ was skipping rocks one day, and oneÂ bounced offÂ an elderlyÂ woman’s fence, and now he must read to her each day as penance.Â This is part of their conversation during his first visit to read to her.
Suddenly, her eyes opened and she lifted her head.Â “Have you thought about what your last words might be?Â You’re never too young to know what your last words might be.Â Death could come along at any moment and thrust his dart right through you.”Â She jerked her arm out at him, and Turner shot back against the organ.
“I supposed,” he whispered, “something like, ‘The Lord is my shepherd.'”
“Too expected,” she said, shaking her head.Â “nobody would care to remember that, and you’d have wasted your one opportunity.Â You don’t get two chances to say your last words, you know.”
Sometimes it doesn’t take much to get me wondering, but these few lines did it for me.Â I can think (tongue in cheek) of a couple for myself:
Wow!Â That was amazing!Â Hope we didn’t disturb the neighbors.
Who would have guessed I’d live to be over 100!
Nah – those are lame.Â It would be nice to impart words of wisdom for the ones left behind, but I don’t know what those words could be.
So, I ask you:Â What would YOU like your last words to be?
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy