Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Snicker of Magic

So you keep catching them words, you hear?  Pluck them out of the wind.  String them together like the finest set of pearls.  Line them up on paper.  And if it hurts too much to say them, then you sing them, or whisper them, or write them into a story.  But don’t waste them.  Your words matter more than you know.” (p. 181)

I love words.  Whether I’m writing, reading, teaching, or playing a word game, they captivate me.  The lyrics in a song, the way a student responds to a question, a text from a friend, words off the page in a book…it all gets in my head, and, often, the words work their way deep into my soul.

Such was the case with my latest novel unit.  Typically, I highlight as I read children’s books- vocabulary words, quotations for analysis, figurative language… But as I read this book, I found myself highlighting for entirely different reasons.  This author truly has a way with words and I found myself marking quotation after quotation- life-applicable and attitude-altering ideas, not just words to fill the page of a children’s book. When an author puts into words a feeling you’ve experienced but have yet to articulate…there’s nothing else like it.  In A Snicker of Magic, Natalie Lloyd did that for me again and again.

If my current enthusiasm doesn’t fade, this book will remain on my personal all-time top three children’s books list.  The novel is nothing short of amazing; the clever plot, endearing characters and (the aptly named) snicker of magic held my attention from cover to cover.  Moreover, the life lessons embedded within the plot are priceless.  The main character of the book, Felicity Pickle, has a gift that enables her to see words hovering around people- their thoughts, feelings, wishes… the very core of who they are.  Such an interesting concept… how different our world would be if we could see each other that way.  Her gift also applied to objects, and it left me thinking about what words I would see hovering around this book if I had her gift.  I decided on these three:

Everything you touch, everything you smell, everything you taste, every picture you see – all of that has the potential to call up a sad memory.  You can’t choose what comes up first.  But you can choose to replace it with something good.” (p. 265)
Home isn’t just a house or a city or a place; home is what happens when you’re brave enough to love people.” (p. 302)
“Hope doesn’t fizzle or flicker or burn out.  Hope isn’t the same as other words.  Hope holds steady.” (p. 174)

The themes of this book resonated deep inside me, and the words the author used grabbed hold of me… perhaps because we all have those three words hovering around us.  We’re all stumbling through hardships, searching for a place that feels like home, and holding onto hope, just like Felicity Pickle.  I have found that these truths hold whether we’re ten years old or a hundred years old, and whether you’re on either end of that spectrum or somewhere in between, I believe A Snicker of Magic will speak to your soul, as it did mine.

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