English Reading:
The First Book I Read

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No artigo de hoje - O Primeiro Livro Que Li - você conhecerá três pessoas que deixaram sua marca neste mundo. A primeira delas, um escritor americano. A segunda, um escritor brasileiro. E a terceira... Você vai ter de descobrir!

The First Book I Read

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When I was 8, my grandmother had a stroke and was left with one side of her body paralyzed. She was bedridden for several weeks and started having difficulty with speech as well. We were very close to each other, and also because I was her neighbor I started visiting her every day.

Around this time, I began to discover the joy of reading. I do not remember if I was encouraged by her or by my desire to please her, but it was right there – at her bedside – that I read my first book: The Giving Tree.

Written by Shel Silverstein and translated by Fernando Sabino, the book tells a simple and fascinating story on the relationship between a boy and a tree. As the child grows up, the tree keeps generously meeting his needs: it gives him its leaves, allows him to rest in its shade, and gives him its fruit, branches, and so on.

In a supreme act of sacrifice, the tree allowed itself to be cut, and the boy used its wood to build a boat and travel the world. He went away searching for adventure, and all that remained of the tree was a small trunk.

Decades later, the boy returns as an aged man, and the tree says, "I have nothing else to give you." He replies: "I do not need so much now, just a place to rest."

The tree is filled with joy by the opportunity to serve him again and says, "Good! A tree stump is a great place to do just that! Come boy, sit down and be happy.”

And that was what the boy did… And the tree was happy again. :-)

At each visit, she asked me to read the same story again, which made me realize – even as a boy – the power literature has to bring people together, and to turn some moments unto unforgettable memories…

English Exercises

I – Let’s talk about it!

  1. Which is your favorite book?
  2. When did you read your first book?
  3. What was the book about?
  4. Do you like reading for children?
  5. Would you like to read ‘The Giving Tree’?
  6. How many books do you usually read per year?
  7. Which book would you like to read again?

II – Number the paragraphs according to the story:

_____ The tree then says, "Good! A tree stump is a great place to do just that! Come boy, sit down and be happy." The boy obliged and the tree was happy.

_____ The Giving Tree is a tale about a relationship between a young boy and a tree in a forest.

_____ In the ultimate act of self-sacrifice, the tree lets the boy cut her down so the boy can build a boat in which he can sail. The boy leaves the tree, now a stump.

_____ The tree always provides the boy with what he wants: branches on which to swing, shade in which to sit, apples to eat, branches with which to build a home.

_____ Many years later, the boy, now an old man, returns and the tree says, "I have nothing left to give you." The boy replies, " I do not need much now, just a quiet place to sit and rest."

_____ As the boy grows older he requires more and more of the tree. The tree loves the boy very much and gives him anything he asks for.

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