We picked up the book “Slow Down for Manatees” at our latest trip to the library. It was a random grab just before we got in line to check out but the book has had a big effect on Primo. The book tells the story of a Manatee getting run over by a speeding boat, leaving broken ribs and cuts on her back from the propeller. The Manatee is taken in by the sea center and is brought back to health and gives birth. When we read the book through the first time Primo kept bring us back to get a fuller picture of the story: “Why is the Manatee so big?” “Why doesn’t the boat see her?” “How did she get cut?” “What happend to her tail?” As we would talk through the scenes Primo became more and more concerned. It was bed time so he put his books away and got in bed but asked a few more questions before hugging and kissing me good night.
The next day him and I had some quiet reading time, me with my book and him with his. He grabbed “Slow Down for Manatees” and sat next to me. His face was sad as he looked at me and asked why people ran over the Manatee. He was almost in tears so I put my book down pulled him up on my lap so we could talk through the book a little more. We grabbed the computer and looked up videos of boat propellers getting a good idea of how they worked. We looked at maps of the canals in Florida where the Manatee’s live. Then we looked at pictures of Manatees in the water and some with scars. We talked about what people could do to be more careful not to run over the Manatees and after all that he felt better. We got out the markers and big piece of paper and made a sign for people to slow down for the Manatees.
A good book will get you to think a bit more and stay with you. In that respect this was one of the first good books Primo has read. I know there will be more books that move him to action and that cause him some sleepless nights as he thinks through them. That is the power of books.