A pink taxi

A pink taxi

April 26, 2011

There Are Many Ways to Share a Book

There are many ways to share a book. The most logical way would be to recommend a good read. The most friendly way would be to discuss it, at a book club for example. I prefer virtual book clubs. The most generous way would be to gift a new copy of  the book you enjoyed. The most personal way would be to pass on your own copy, like a sportsman passes the baton in a relay. The most romantic way is to read it out loud as I sometimes do with my better half. The most academic way is to discuss it with a professor or analyze accompanying Cliff notes when classroom days are long gone.

My preferred way to share a book is to read it with my child. It can be the most simple Arabic book, a favorite Martine, a Dr Seuss tongue twister, an Encyclopedia or a French classic.

Every young French reader will one day encounter The Little Prince by Saint Exupery, possibly when still in diapers. They have made this classic accessible to all, through derivative and even simple cardboard toddler books.

As a result, when I took the fresh new copy out for my ten year old son and I to read together, he already knew all the characters, but could only vaguely remember what had really happened. He certainly was curious to link them all together in a story. As for me, I had not touched the book since I read it with my younger brother, in the same fashion as I am reading it with my son.

There is a lot of dialogue in the book, so we choose which characters we would act out, and we read along. Often my son will sigh because he is touched by the sweetness of it and by its optimistic philosophy. Since we are reading it in the context of CNED, (the long distance teaching method he is signed up for), we have studied the context of the book and author.

Antoine de Saint Exupery was a postal pilot during WWII and he went missing, leaving us with a few novels on flying, the Little Prince and an unsolved mystery. In many ways, the Little Prince foreshadowed his disappearence because it is the story of a pilot whose plane breaks down in a desert. He finds himself stranded, when a little Prince comes his way and talks to him.

I asked my son: "Do you think the prince is a vision? Like a mirage in the desert? Was it just a voice in his own head?"

 My son reflected and responded: "God knows! You must give him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps you are too old to believe in these things mother!"

Nadim Karam, a Lebanese artist, also was inspired by Le Petit Prince. The statue of the Fox remains at DIFC, but  in his art it seems that The Little Prince has visited another planet...I captured a photo of the statue before it disappeared.

The French government certainly believed in Saint Exupery. They celebrated The Little Prince on their old 50 French Francs bill. There is an elephant who is swallowed by a boa snake and the shape looks like a hat. For those who don't know what I am referring to, you ought to read the book.


  1. Thank God we are not discussing Franzen,but Le Petit Prince,a book that I never understood,even when I tried to watch the movie with my grandchildren last week.I am accused of having ADD when it comes to a serious discussion or starting a difficult book. I have been challenged to read Freedom by Franzen,and I abstained.I was given an autobiography of Agassi that left a dust mark on my desk,and I refused to waste valuable time.Meanwhile,I read three books that I enjoyed:The Hare with the Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal,Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt and Warren Buffet authorized biography.

  2. Le Petit Prince is the child in us all. Your son is absolutely correct when he responded "God knows! You must give him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps you are too old to believe in these things mother!" I love Le Petit Prince and his innocense especially when confronted with the realities of adult life. Le Petit Prince is the French Peter Pan.