I live with an author and illustrator. She is amazing. Her ideas are inspiring and she is sure to take the book world by storm. She’s creative and thoughtful and gifted and wonderful. She is also five and she is my daughter. Of course that makes me biased, and I am totally okay with that.
She is very into recreating any books that have been made at school. At the beginning of kindergarten they had undertaken those ever popular “All About” books. So of course we had tandem books going on in an All About My Family way. Here comes the bias again, because our family is pretty damn wonderful too. She worked on her book in the morning before school, in the car on the way home from school, and come night time she was begging for “just one more minute.”
Now, my writer was in a bit of a quandary. You see, she liked things to be correct. So she used what she knows. She would dabble in this thing we call brave spelling. But courageous she had not been. She would not take that leap.
Maddie’s family book was coming along nicely. This is my mom. I love you mom. This is my dad. I love you dad. This is my aunt. I love you Ingi. Pretty standard stuff. The drawings are what made us roll with laughter and swell with pride at the detail she painstakingly included.
Then she decided that this family book should be far more than that one she made in school. She wanted to add Opa. Oh, but she didn’t know how to spell Opa. So in an “oh my goodness, please just use it” moment, I told her how to spell Opa so she would put him in her book. Because “even though he’s in heaven, he is our family.” So yeah, I spelled it for her. Judge me. Go ahead. I went through the sounds with her.
Well, then she headed over to the ledge and picked up a picture of me and her papa and hugged it close. Makes my heart melt every time she says, “I miss my papa even if I don’t know him.” He died 12 years ago, long before she was even a twinkle. So papa simply had to go into her book and I just told her to look at O– pa when it was time to write PA pa. And she did.
It came out as popa and she asked me if it was right.
I told her it was perfect. Because it was.