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Readers Reflect – Lost Worlds

February 8, 2010

“Readers Reflect,” is a weekly post by a guest blogger reflecting on a formative book, character, or reading experience that has been particularly meaningful in their life as a reader. To submit your own “Readers Reflect” essay, please contact us at

It’s difficult to narrow my choices to a single book that started my love of reading. I vaguely remember pitching a fit if School Mouse was not read to me before I went to sleep. I am sure Kiki can attest to that. Looking back though, I think Dinotopia captured my fascination the most and informs how I think today. It wasn’t the first book my dad and I read together, but when I began to get a little too old for him to read with me before bed, Dinotopia was our final chapter. My dad came home one day with the book and insisted that we absolutely had to read this together, which was odd considering what I had put him and my family through with School Mouse. I could tell my Dad was already hooked, to this day every time I read the title I hear my dad’s “movie preview voice” performing every syllable, “DI-NO-TO-PIA.”

The book is immersive, written as a personal journal the author says he discovered in a dusty corner of a library. It tells the story of a shipwrecked scientist and his son exploring an island where dinosaurs still exist. There is an incredible amount of detail put into each page, from handwriting to sketches. My dad and I were sucked in, equally lost in the book. We kept turning each page even as we grew sleepy. I still vividly remember hearing my dad’s voice as I nodded off. The next night we excitedly began again, it didn’t take long to finish it.

It was a fun, engaging story to say the least. What strikes me today is that the author built an entire world, with its own detailed history, laws, and culture but gave the first opportunity to learn about it to children. With my dad sharing the same fascination that I had, I felt like my own person, capable of understanding things just like him. Even while I may have needed help with a few words or needed something explained, reading this with my dad awakened my abilities.

Lee is Courtney’s brother, he and his wife still go to used bookstores any chance they can. He still hopes to find a mysterious journal.


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