The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma
Alice Ozma's book is poorly subtitled. It is indeed about her, her father, and how their commitment to reading aloud shaped their relationship. Their reading promise was a defining feature of their life together. It is not, however, about the books they shared. Very little is said about the specific books or their impact on either James or Alice.
For what it is, a childhood memoir, penned by one barely beyond childhood, it is an enjoyable read. It is delightful to read a memoir which celebrates a quirky but good parent, written by an adoring, but not blinded, daughter.
It is a sweet story until the last few chapters, which are more of a wake up call to those who value reading. After a lifetime spent as an elementary school librarian, Alice's father is told by the principals that he is no longer to read aloud to the students. Books are replaced by computers, and he is to teach computer skills. Although he fights against these changes, he loses. Later, he decides to run for school board.
I'd vote for him. I remember school libraries and librarians so fondly. My daughter's school does not even have a library. They have a media center, full of computers and manga. How can children read if we don't give them access to books?