A Promise Well Kept

A librarian father fulfills a promise to read to his daughter for 3,218 days.

Courtesy of public relations.

When Alice Ozma was nine, her dad started reading to her. He’d read to her before, but on this occasion they agreed to try for 100 days straight.

The 100 days turned into 3,218. Ozma’s father, a children’s librarian for more than 30 years in the Cumberland County town of Millville, read to her every night without fail until the day before she went to college.

This blitz of reading became the subject of Ozma’s book, The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared (Grand Central Publishing, $24.99). The streak began and ended with books from L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz series and included Alice in Wonderland, Great Expectations and 18 books from the Encyclopedia Brown series.

“It gave me a better understanding of what he was doing with his life,” says Ozma. “As a children’s librarian, that was always his passion. It was the other kid.”

Ozma, 23, didn’t think it odd that her dad read to her even when she was a teenager, although others might. Sometimes he would even read to her in public places, like the time they were waiting for her sister’s train in Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station. With time to kill, he opened Harry Potter.

“I was old enough to realize it’s weird for your dad to be reading to you,” she says. “But we got completely lost in the book and forgot we were sitting on a train-station bench.”

Ozma, who lives in Philadelphia, says her father’s promise ingrained reading as a habit. “If I go to bed without reading, I feel really strange, even stranger than going to bed without brushing your teeth,” she says.

Click here to leave a comment
There are no photos with those IDs or post 52087 does not have any attached images!
Read more Books, Jersey Living articles.

By submitting comments you grant permission for all or part of those comments to appear in the print edition of New Jersey Monthly.

Required not shown
Required not shown