Books at bedtime

Alice Ozma’s father read her a story every night from the age of nine to 18. But why?

Emine Saner

At the age of nine, Alice Ozma and her father, Jim, set themselves a challenge: he would read to her every day for 100 days. They started with The Tin Woodman of Oz and ended with Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days by Stephen Manes. The next morning, they celebrated completing the "Streak", as it would become known, with pancakes at their favourite diner near their home in Millville, New Jersey, on the US east coast. Then Alice suggested that they carry on for 1,000 nights.

Jim, a children‘s librarian, was dubious about the prospect. Little did he know that he would end up reading to his daughter every night for 3,218 nights – nearly nine full years – until the day she left for college. They devoured hundreds of books: children’s titles by Beverly Cleary and Roald Dahl, teenage novels by Judy Blume and Anthony Horowitz, and weightier reads such as Great Expectations and Macbeth.

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Alice Ozma

Alice Ozma with her father, Jim. Photograph: Ryan Collerd

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