Katy Brown’s blog about reading aloud to your children got me thinking about my childhood. Some of my fondest memories are when my dad would read to me and my brother. He read the classics, Oliver Twist (my brother’s namesake), Huckleberry Finn, Aesop’s Fables, and the Sunday funnies.
I’m pretty sure my love of the comics led to my love of newspapers, then my desire to become a journalist.
As I grew older, my love of reading flourished. I was all over Beatrix Potter, Dr. Suess, Nancy Drew, the Boxcar Children, the Baby-Sitters Club, teenage mysteries, and the like. I read for enjoyment all the way until college, when I was forced to read thousands and thousands of pages a semester, and it became laborious, not fun.
When the Nicholas Spark craze hit the rest of my friends, one friend said, “Cara only reads real books.” Not by choice. The Notebook sounds much more romantic than Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think. While my friends read the Twilight series, I was reading The Kite Runner (great book, but not one you can sink yourself into.)
Having my son (and a sister that works at Border’s) has allowed me the opportunity to dive back into reading for pleasure, as well as discover classics that I never read.
For example, I had no reason to pay much attention to Eric Carle until my son’s great-aunt gifted Carle’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear. He loves it. He has two copies at home, and yet still pulls it off the bookshelf if he sees it at the store. He has to sit down and read it right then.
Another favorite is The Whole Night Through, by David Frampton. A lullaby with gorgeous woodcuts created by the author, the book is the perfect way to kick off bedtime. I learned new animals, such as the eland and the kinkajou, from reading that book.
To my surprise, I realized I had never read Where The Wild Things Are or The Polar Express, both Caldecott winners that were somehow overlooked in my school days. They are on our bookshelf now.
We’ve picked up a few new favorites in the past couple of months as well. My ceramics instructor suggested Ain’t Gonna Paint No More, an amazingly illustrated tale of one ornery boy who uses his body as a canvas, instead of the ceilings and the wall and the curtains and the door. The music teacher boyfriend picked out Do You Do A Didgeridoo? by Nick Page. The energetic and rhythmic book is great to read while bouncing a little one on your knee.
My mother kept all of our Dr. Suess books, so my son is reading the same Cat In The Hat and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish that I used to flip through.
Since I’ve been reading to my little one, I’ve also found I want to read for myself again. I’m working through The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy now, and hope to move on to Water For Elephants and Tina Fey’s Bossypants. I’m a little behind on the most recent titles, but I’m getting there.
What are some of your favorites, past and present? What are you reading now? What do your kids like?