My eleven-year-old granddaughter, Erika Kelly Waalkes, was asked by her sixth-grade teacher to read a book and turn in a three-page review of it before this past year’s Christmas break. She chose Growing Up In Mama’s Club.
Summing up her read, Erika wrote, “The author, Richard Kelly, is a very descriptive writer. He paints pictures of the people and places in his book with vivid verbs and a wide vocabulary. I am very proud of him and I will continue to love him with all of my heart! Great job Papa!
In the body of her report, she was asked to do character and chapter analysis, and a book summary. I found it surprising how little information she shared about Mama, her great grandmother. Instead, she chose to comment on the strengths and flaws of Papa and my half-brother, Tim.
Erika’s favorites were my grandparents, Georgie, Sheila, Grandma Bean, Helen, and Dickie. She was particularly impressed with Grandpa Evans as a positive role model. Her two least favorites were Mrs. Edwards and Mama. She especially did not like their negative outbursts about Christmas.
I am very proud of Erika. She is a wonderful young lady and I hope she will want to read my story again as an adult. While my book was not written to be read by children, I hope they will be the benefactors of my soapbox message: “A parent’s responsibility is to instill values and ethics when raising their children, not to force them to adhere to and believe in strict religious dogma they are not emotionally or intellectually mature enough to comprehend.”