Little Free Libraries. Part of it is I just love the idea of leaving books, getting books, and sharing books all around neighborhood. Part of it is it's like a little treasure hunt - you never know where you might find one, or what books you might find in them. Awhile back, my husband discovered one just around the corner from us during one of his neighborhood runs. We have been visiting it about once every couple weeks when I think of it. Yesterday, I walked a different route down the hill to the bank and came across another one. And this one happened to have quite a number of young reader books in it - perfect for my son, Ben. Even better, they all seemed to relate to his recent obsession with superheroes. So, I borrowed: This is Iron Man. This goes back to an earlier post of mine about what kind of books I want to encourage, but lately, the answer to that question is: anything my son is interested in reading!
As soon as I got home, he ran off with the book and looked through it several times on his own (he can only read a few words at the moment, but the picture told the basic story). He came running back to me, "Mom! Did you know Iron Man is not a robot? He is a real man just in a suit!" This led to a pretty fun discussion about which superheroes are "just" people in suits and which ones are creatures or aliens or actual robots (I'm not sure if any are actual robots?). He questioned how Batman could be a person in a suit, but also be Bruce Wayne - which led to a discussion about secret identities. And then he asked about Superman, who is also a person - Clark Kent, but seems to come from another planet, and are there people on other planets? And then strangely the question of whether there are animals on other planets or just aliens. It got a bit complicated as we tried to piece out what is "real" and what is "imaginary." It made me think about issues people always raise about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy - and how much kids believe or should believe or can believe. The line between reality and fiction is a very difficult one to be sure!
Ultimately, Ben seemed a bit disappointed that Iron Man was not a robot, so I asked him if it was better to be a robot or a person in a suit. He thought for a moment and said, "I guess a suit. I could put on a suit, but I'll probably never be a robot."
As for me, I'm coming around to these Superhero books. They may not be my genre of choice, but they sure can lead to some fun discussions!