Actual Books

“What have you been doing all day?”
“Reading.  In fact, I just finished Little Women. I never read it and thought that I should.”
Little Women! You mean it was an actual book before it was a musical?”
I looked at my daughter with a wide smile. I didn’t smirk or make her feel silly that she didn’t know that Little Women was an actual book. How would she know? She never saw me reading it before now. The book wasn’t on a bookshelf at home and she never read it in school. With genuine interest, she picked up the book and flipped through the pages.
“So, did you decide to read this because I’m in the musical?”
“Uh, huh. I’m interested to see what parts they include in the musical. Remember how different Wicked was from the actual book?
“Wow, this is thick. Show me the part about Meg.”
“Do you want to read about Meg after she got married?”
“Yeah, put a sticky note on it and I’ll read it later. I felt kinda bad when I didn’t get Jo but I really like Meg. I think I would be a better Meg anyway.  She’s older and more like motherly.”
“And pretty,” I added.
“Moooooom, come on.”
“I’m allowed to say that, I’m your mom.”
"What is that book? Are you reading that next?"
"The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Remember Tom Sawyer? Same author."
"Yeah, wasn’t Tom Sawyer the musical Mitch was in when he was like in 3rd grade? Isn’t it weird how so many musicals start out as old books?"
My wide smile returned and I nodded my head in agreement.
The "actual" book and one of Meg's songs from the musical.


  1. Crazy how those old books inspire some amazing plays and movies. :) good luck with your continued reading of the classics and good luck to your daughter on her play.

  2. I like the way you wrote it, with little commentary, just laid it our for us-nicely given! It's so interesting how different our perspectives can be. Nice of you to give your daughter hers too.

  3. This is so cool that you are reading after your daughter is in the musical! I have to say that I haven't read it yet, but you may have prompted me to go out and get it! :o) I know that there are so many movies and musicals made from classics and books. Thanks for sharing! Happy slicing! :o)

  4. The musical is was the book, which I read and loved so much I read again and again. P.S. Loved the way you wrote this - the dialogue punctuating the narrative.

  5. That's funny! When I first read the title, I was expecting a conversation about e-Readers vs. ACTUAL books, which is a dilemma I am struggling with these days.

    Little Women is on my list for the summer, too! I am feeling almost guilty for never having read it before!

  6. I just had to laugh out loud here all by myself! "Isn't it funny how so many musicals start out as old books" just struck me funny. They actually start out as new books. I read Mr. Popper's Penguins to my first graders and this year I warned them to watch for differences in the movie and the book. For classics, The Little Princess is on my list for the summer.

  7. Enjoyed your conversation with your daughter. I love the "Mooooom" part.:)MaryHelen

  8. A workshop with Kelly Gallagher at the beginning of the school year caused me to fall in love with the classics again. A suppose your daughter being in the musical is an even better reason to fall in love with a classic! I have always loved the story of Little Women, which I read when I was in the play in high school. Play, musical, movie...nothing beats the "actual book!"

  9. I love opening your daughter's eyes to the actual book. It's enjoyable for me to see students' eyes widen in surprise when they realize some of the movies and songs they love stem from literature.

  10. I didn't know it was a musical! I tried to read Tom Sawyer as an adult but didn't stick with it. I have revisited other favorites though.

  11. This is a great post--sorry I missed the first time around. Love getting kids to read anything, but especially something as good as Little Women, one of my favorites as a kid.


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