As with many people, I started to love children's literature as a child. I was a horse-crazy little girl reading every book about horses I could find. Because I was never given the little brown pony I begged for every Christmas, I had to settle for literature horses like The Black Stallion, Misty of Chincoteague, Black Beauty and others. Clutching my library card carefully, I stepped quietly into to the children's section of the big old stone library in the center square of our town to pick out just the right book. I loved dreaming that one day I would be the proud owner of such a beautiful animal.
Unfortunately I missed out on reading many great books with this very narrow focus.
After becoming a teacher I read daily to the children in my little school. We did many projects and had good discussions surrounding the current book. I realized there were numerous incredible stories to be read so I always had a book ready to read aloud every day. I'll never forget reading aloud , Where the Red Fern Grows, with a group of kids and crying my way through the sad parts while the kids sat wide-eyed. I'm sure a few had tears of their own as they listened to this amazingly well written tale.
I was eager to continue my love of books for kids when our first son was born. As soon as he could sit on my lap, reading became our first delight together. Passing on my deep appreciation of reading to this dear son made our time even more meaningful. I hoped his love of reading would continue long after he could no longer sit on my lap.
Starting with board books we then graduated to Dr Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat. Other greats that come to mind are: Are you My Mother?, The Berenstain Bears, Winnie the Pooh, James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Little House on the Prairie, The Chronicle of Narnia, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, Treasure Island, and The Lloyd Alexander. We couldn't get enough.
"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." ~Emilie Buchwald
I must add....and their grandparents.
Now my interest is being renewed with a new generation with which to enjoy reading. Lucy's parents share my love of children's literature and from an early age they have opened books to her big inquisitive eyes. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox seems to be one of her favorites at this time.
"There was one little baby / who was born far away. / And another who was born / on the very next day. / And both of these babies, / as everyone knows, / had ten little fingers / and ten little toes."
Thank you little Lucy, for your love of words, of rhythm, of story and especially of learning. I look forward to many hours behind a book with you on my lap or by my side. I promise to not limit you to just horse books, although I'm sure I'll throw in a few for memory's sake.