Among a whole cadre of memorable literary dads, one stands out for me this Father’s Day: the father whose story is told through the voice of his daughter, recounting what took place, as she says, The Summer My Father Was Ten.
So impressed was I with the tender reactions of the fifth graders with whom I first shared the book, that I changed my intention to target the book for their grade level only, and began reading the book with fourth and third graders, who reacted with the same sensitivity as did the ten-year olds.
Based on the students’ reactions—to say nothing of my own!—I knew that I must find a way to fund an author visit, and that the author I needed to invite was Pat Brisson, whose fatherhood tale has so deeply moved my mind, heart, and spirit.
And so it came to pass that eighteen months later, during Respect Week in the month of October, that Ms. Brisson was inspiring our children, through a trio of assemblies, to become better writers and readers—truly, more full human beings.
In the interim, I had met Ms. Brisson, read her other books to our students as part of an author study to prepare them for her visit, and come to admire her more and more, so that on the day of her arrival, I felt the same “star-struck” giddiness, of sorts, that I had experienced decades earlier in the presence of a baseball hero.
Surely, I will devote more writings to more fully elucidate the impact of Ms. Brisson’s books on my life and the lives of the students with whom I shared them. For now, on this Father’s Day, I invite you to read or re-read her deeply moving tale and to let her writing catapult you on a personal journey of recalling life-lessons taught by the father figures in your life, by way of their having shared with you poignant remembrances of their own childhoods.
And let the recollections inspire you to repay your gratitude by making a commitment to share your story with the children in your life!
Happy Father’s Day!