I honestly thought I had read The Giver by Lois Lowry before. I mean, it's a classic, and I've read the classics, right?
It was one of the wrapped choices for my fifth grade lunch book clubs, and the boys' group picked it this time. I figured it had been awhile since I've read it, so I took a copy home to review before we meet again in a few weeks.
Two pages in, and I realized I had never read this before. Looking at the publication date, I realized why.
It was published the year my eldest child was born. The year I quit teaching elementary special education (the first time), spent an idle summer (for the first time in a long time) gestating that new little being while I swam leisurely laps in the neighborhood pool, turning golden brown as I basked in the sun. Then summer turned to fall--a fall spent visiting my daughter in a neonatal intensive care unit. She came home a month earlier than expected, but still a "newborn"--and as every parent who's ever experienced that time in their lives, it was an exhausting blur.
I'm thinking now that I probably missed out on close to a decade of middle-grade children's literature, just because of my job in special education and parenting young children. I didn't go back to the classroom as a teacher until seventeen years after the publication of The Giver.
So I'm getting the chance to catch up now. That is the beauty of books, right? They are always there, waiting for you. No expiration dates. Well, maybe book club deadlines and library due dates, but even those are negotiable. :-)