Carpe Diem Y’all by Michele Bernard

Writer, Texan, Semi-interested Sports Fan

Summer Reading Challenge and an Appeal

raisin.gif What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up

Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore-

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat

Or crust and sugar over-

Like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags

Like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?


My fourteen year old isn’t nearly as excited about his summer reading assignment as I am.   Each summer, I like to sink my teeth into a classic, whereas his reading preference leans toward baseball stats or whatever is written on the back of his favorite cereal box.  This summer however, he is to read playwright Lorraine Hansberry’s classic play, A Raisin in the Sunand be prepared to write an essay about it the first week of school.   

“Read? But it’s summer!” he complains.

“Welcome to high school,”  I reply.

“Do they have it in graphic novel form?” he asks.

“Graphic novel?,” I ask.

“Comic book form,” he says, “I could read it in a day if it were in graphic novel form.  I read The Red Badge of Courage graphic novel in less than two days.  I don’t understand why every book can’t be in graphic novel form.”

I feel his pain when I realize what he’s getting at.  As one with dyslexia, he’s learned that when reading material includes pictures, it’s much easier to get into the story with the much needed context clues provided by the illustrations.

“Well, perhaps you can put it on your life’s to do list to translate the classics into graphic novel form so future generations can enjoy too,” I reply.

“Yeah maybe,” he replies with a heavy sigh, clearly defeated.

I realize in that moment what my summer reading challenge will be and I don’t mind saying, it’s a little daunting, trying to figure out how to bring this work alive for this kid.  When I think about the main themes of this work:  the American dream, the African American experience, Feminism, then I look back at my fourteen year old son reading baseball stats, I shake my head, feeling just as defeated as he does.  Yet, at the same time, I find myself looking forward to the experience.  

I still haven’t figured out the how of it all, but this is what I have so far:

1.  As Tuesday and Thursday mornings are already days where he will be doing school/athletic realated activity, I think the afternoons will be designated to either read from this work, or do something experiential in relation to the work or one of the main themes. 

2.  We’ve invited his best friend to join us, thinking that maybe this will increase the cool factor, or at least give my son someone to be bored with and exchange dirty looks with.  

And that’s as far as I’ve thought it out.  I am totally open to suggestion.  Any thoughts? 

Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele


June 3, 2007 - Posted by | Best Lines, Blogroll, Books, Carpe Diem Quotes, Family, Michele's Musings, Motherhood, Parenting, Writerly Stuff, Writing


  1. A dream deferred becomes an obsession, however simmering for some.


    Comment by spicetalk | June 3, 2007 | Reply

  2. hello michele,

    just dropped by to check out the latest entry in your blog…

    hope all is well.


    Comment by chrisfiore5 | June 4, 2007 | Reply

  3. I certainly agree Spicetalk, and Chrisfiore5, thanks for stopping by. Peace, Michele

    Comment by Michele Bernard | June 5, 2007 | Reply

  4. It sounds like you’ve already got some good ideas.

    Of course, there’s also the Sidney Poitier movie…. It won’t substitute for the book, but might enhance his understanding.

    Comment by pooks | June 8, 2007 | Reply

  5. Good idea pooks, I’ll see if I can find it.

    Comment by Michele Bernard | June 9, 2007 | Reply

  6. theres not really a picture for this poem,is there?

    Comment by jon doe | February 26, 2008 | Reply

  7. No – I think this is from the play. thanks for stopping by – Michele

    Comment by Michele | February 27, 2008 | Reply

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