November 08, 2011

My How Times Have Changed

As part of the nightly homework in kindergarten, we are required to read together. This is not a big deal because my daughters love books. We started out letting each of them pick a book and reading to them one on one. For their birthday I gave them the complete set of Ramona books, so we have been working our way through those. (We actually read Beezus and Ramona about a year ago). 
You can tell the books were not written recently. The language is a little more proper than what we use today and every now and then my girls have to ask "what does that mean?" In one of the books I had censor what I was reading because Ramona was intent on proving that her dad was the Tooth Fairy. Not all of my girls have lost their first tooth so I'm not ready to spoil the magic.
We are currently reading Ramona and Her Father. I really struggled with last night's chapter. This book mentions quite often that Ramona's father smokes. After dinner he'll ask Ramona to get him an ashtray. Last night's chapter focused on his smoking and kept describing the smoke rings that he would blow. Ramona and Beezus spent the chapter trying to convince their dad to quit his habit. Let's face it, if this book were written today I'm pretty sure all references to Mr. Quimby's smoking would have been removed. It certainly never came up in the movie based on the books. 
Hubby and I don't smoke. No one in our family smokes, although he and I grew up around grandparents who smoked... a lot. I'm sure my daughters have seen people smoking when we're out and about, but it's never been an issue. I ended up using last night's chapter as a stepping stone to a bigger conversation: why you shouldn't smoke. It was a little bit much for them to comprehend, but I just couldn't read that chapter without making a point. I knew someday I would have to start addressing these issues, I was just a bit surprised that Ramona Q. initiated the conversation.

4 comments:

MaryAnne said...

I actually remember reading about that as a kid - I think I was 8 or 9 years old. I think it only encouraged my desire to have nothing to do with smoking.

We need to start reading the Ramona books!

Quadmama said...

The books have been a lot of fun to read. The box set was fairly inexpensive.

Miss Sparkles said...

I've never read the books, I don't think they were popular down here but I'd added them to my 'future babies' book list.
I love reading books from different eras/generations and being absorbed in both their language and they presentation of every day family life.. as a kid I loved all the 'Magic Faraway Tree' books where the girls helped Mum in the kitchen and the boys helped Dad outside, there was no TV and no stranger danger.
I'm sure not many books today would mention parents smoking, but at least Ramona and her sister were against it and it was a good way for you to bring it up! I wouldn't be able to read it to little ones without adding my two cents either!

reanbean said...

My kids have just within the last few months started to notice people smoking when we're out and about. No one in our family smokes, and we've talked about why- including (in very basic terms) what smoking can do to your body. They seem to get that it's bad for you and that they should never do it. What's hard to explain is why people choose to do it even though it's so bad for them. Hopefully they've got enough information now and we can go into more detail at a later date.

Post a Comment