Reading Is FUNdamental

I landed a plum role this week.

I was the mystery reader in Alexia’s first-grade class. Not sure how ‘mysterious’ it was, since Alexia apparently figured out it was me hours before I showed up.

Each week, the kids hear three clues (submitted by the mystery reader) and try to figure out the identity of that person. Her friends in class told me later on that Alexia knew it was me as soon as she heard the first clue:


I love reading to my girls. And I’m blessed to currently have a flexible schedule, so I’m usually available to drop by the school to read to their classes. Trust me, I know how fortunate I am in that regard. Many parents I know don’t have that luxury, so I make sure to enjoy every opportunity I get to be involved in my girls’ school life.

But if I’m being honest, the task of actually picking the book(s) to read is a bit stressful for me. I mean, no one wants to bomb in front of their daughter and her classmates.

In kindergarten and lower levels, it’s pretty easy. Go with a Dr. Seuss classic and call it a day. But once the kids start reading on their own, it’s a different ballgame. Pick the wrong tome and its game over, man. Game over!

Which is why I spent 20 minutes this morning after I dropped the girls off at school, digging through the library for the right read. I picked one, but wasn’t thrilled with my choice. After I returned home, Cindi made a suggestion that, as usual, was spot on.

“Why don’t you read Benny the Dolphin?”


Benny The Dolphin is a new children’s book written by my mom, Luisa Avila. It’s an adorable little tale about a playful dolphin and his ocean pals, with a cute message about sharing and friendship. Alexia likes reading it to her little sister. It’s a bright, snappy, colorful book that I hoped would be hit with the class. So I brought ‘Benny’ and another of Alexia’s favorite reads, Purplelicious, to the school.

I’m happy to report both books went over well with Alexia’s first-grade friends. Alexia liked that I brought her grandma’s book and insisted I read it first. She also took turns reading some of the pages to her classmates.


What I’m really proud of is that most of the kids in class — including all the boys — said “Benny The Dolphin” was their favorite. The fact that Alexia’s grandma wrote it impressed them, too. They were all, ‘really?? How did she do that? Did she write every single book??’

If I were Alexia, I’d bank that little cachet for the future; after all, it won’t be long before she’ll need votes to join the student council!

Have good book recommendations for first-graders? Feel free to drop some titles in the comments.

And if you want to check out Benny The Dolphin, it’s available on Amazon right now.







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