Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma

Anyone whose parents shared a love of reading will have a hard time letting go of Alice Ozma's book. The Reading Promise is subtitled "My Father and the Books We Shared." It could have easily been subtitled, "How books got us through life." This is a touching book that will probably leave you a little angry when you finish. No, you won't be angry at the author or her father, just at the state of the world.

Alice's father, Jim Brozina, wrote the forward to this book. His memories of the reading promise differ from his daughter's, and both of them give their account. What matters, though, is that the two of them read together every day from the time Alice was nine until the day she moved into her college dorm. And, they made a commitment. Alice's father would read to her for at least ten minutes every night. "The Streak," as they called it, started as a promise to read for 100 nights. They both agree that it was at the celebration of that accomplishment that they decided to make it 1000 nights. In reality, they read for 3,218 nights.

Alice Ozma's father spent 38 years as an elementary school librarian. His love of books and reading is something he shared with his youngest daughter, who name was actually Kristen Alice Ozma Brozina. He was the one who gave her the two middle names of Alice Ozma, naming her after two of his favorite literary characters. Although his oldest daughter asked him to stop reading to her in fourth grade, Alice loved the opportunity she had to spend time with her father. She loved the literary world they shared. That time together, and books, got her through the Thanksgiving her mother left them, the years of growing up with a single father who did his best, but didn't always understand girls. Those books brought Alice and her father close in a way living together never really did.

There's an old poem my mother paraphrased when she gave me a pillow with a picture of my father reading to me copied on the pillow. Both of my sisters have one as well. It says, "Richer than me you will never be. I had a father who read to me." The years and stories that Alice Ozma shared with her father are memories she treasures. So many readers have memories of someone in our life who shared that passion for stories. I can't wait to share this book, and the passion, with the other librarians in the system.

Alice Ozma blogs at

The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma. Grand Central Publishing. ©2011. ISBN 9780446583770 (hardcover). 304p.

FTC Full Disclosure - Library book


Karen said...

I was not one of the fortunate individuals to have parents that read to them. The Reading Promise sounds like an interesting and fun read.

Ingrid King said...

My parents instilled my love of reading in me, too. This sounds ilke a wonderful book.

Kris said...

Sounds like a wonderful book, I'm going to look in to this one. I love the idea of reading for 10 min at the end of every night for a certain amount of time. Perhaps when I have kids this is something I can do with them..if they like reading..fingers crossed. My parents got me interested in reading..not such much by reading with or to me, but by not letting us watch a lot of tv, etc. haha

Lesa said...

It was a wonderful book, Kris. She had a very interesting relationship with her father. And, their Streak was terrific.

London Escort Service said...

The Reading Streak changed their lives so profoundly, Alice has made a commitment to spread the word about reading and the importance of making a reading promise. The reading promise is simply a promise to read to yourself, read to someone else, and protect and defend reading in your community. It's a promise anyone can make, and a movement you'll feel good about. Improve your life and the lives of those around you- make your own reading promise today.