“Reading Opens Up My Imagination”

My nine-year-old nephew Caleb qualifies as a bonafide nerd—and I mean this in a spirit of utmost admiration. One afternoon recently when I was visiting he jumped-up and said “It’s time for me to read, now. This is my favorite part of doing my homework.” (His older siblings snicker about him in a proud way “you know how he is!”)

I was tickled. He didn’t want to be interrupted for 30 minutes or more. And yet, when I told him that I would use the 30 minutes to read a book of my own, he started to get chatty. Plus he wanted to read a few passages aloud from the book he is currently reading: Middle School: How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli, and Snake Hill by James Patterson and Chris Tebbet:

“So I just lay there in bed for a while, staring at the ceiling, wondering what to do about it. Well, I was actually staring at the bottom of Booger Eater’s mattress in the dark. Assuming Norman got his nickname for a reason, I could only hope he was more of an Eater than a Flicker. I’m no scientist, but I even know what gravity will do to something that gets flicked off a top bunk, with me down there on the bottom.”

“What is it that you like about reading?” I asked him.
“Well….reading opens-up my imagination,” he began, and kind of looked off into space the way you do….maybe, when….your, er, imagination is at work.

Caleb reading on a Samsung Nook Tab 4
Caleb reading on a Samsung Nook Tab 4

To read author Neil Gaiman on “Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading, and Daydreaming,” click here.

Read “Creating Successful Adults: Nurturing Imagination With Nature,” published two years ago on The Phipps Science Education and Research site.

In 2003, Karen Gallas published Imagination and Literacy: A Teacher’s Search for the Heart of Learning.


  1. Leslie – as always you find my tickle bone. In these times of more downs than ups. A good shake-the-belly always lifts a person’s spirit. Enjoy all your work since we met. Thank you for this blog on Caleb. Peace.

  2. I love it! I hope he keeps to his reading habits as he grows up, good for him! And I agree, reading does open up imagination, and temporarily takes you to a different world :).

    1. Darkowaa – isn’t he off to a good start? I remember loving to read when I was young but don’t remember being asked me why. I think mostly folks figured that I couldn’t be up to any mischief if my nose was in a book! Like you, I love being temporarily transported to different worlds:)

  3. I love the siblings’ admiration. They don’t snicker at him but with him. “You know how he is!” I love it.

    1. Hi Jean -you know, siblings can spend so much time squabbling and competing and whatnot! So, its always interesting when they are giving each other respect and acceptance, isn’t it? Very honest.

  4. “It’s time for me to read, now. This is my favorite part of doing my homework.” That’s pure magic. Thank you for sharing this tender moment with us, Leslie. And Go, Caleb!

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