This weekend we had friends over for tea — a family with two terrific girls who are a few years older than Sweetpea. After tea itself, we played a rambunctious game of hide-and-seek, which thrilled Sweetpea no end. Between rounds the oldest, almost seven, looked at our stereo and asked, “What’s that?”

She pointed to our record player.

Feeling like living fossils, we explained the concept and showed her what a record looked like. Intrigued, she asked us to play one. David put on Beethoven’s Fifth. When it started, she looked at us with astonished eyes. After listening intently, she announced, “It’s scary!” — with the shivery delight of a child listening to a ghost story. And then, as the trumpets sounded, she laughed in excitement.

And I thought how lucky I was to be there, present as she drank this music in for the first time. And then — how lucky I am to write for young people. We all have the capacity for wonder, but it is so fresh and green and alive in children. And watching them take in the wonderful things of this world — and better yet, being part of it — is some of the best magic I know.

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