Building a Family of Book Lovers
September 18th, 2016
The kids came home with a Scholastic book flyer this week and it was like Christmas in September. My first and second-grader spent 30 solid minutes huddled together, discussing the merits of various series and circling their favorite choices in color-coded markers.
By the time they were done, they had determined that at least 75% of the recommended titles absolutely had to join our library. Honestly, their wish list was at least twenty books long. Anticipating resistance, they came to me ready to buy some titles with their own money – whatever it took to ensure that they could own “Pete the Cat” and “Happy Pig Day.”
While I certainly appreciated their personal financial commitment, the truth is that the answer is almost never ‘no’ when it comes to books. I’m happy to buy them all. Watching my kids with the book flyer made my heart happy and brought back so many memories. I loved school book fairs with an almost desperate joy. So many books! So little time! Where to begin? How would I ever read them all?
I’ve always been an avid book-lover. I have clear memories of reading Madeleine L’Engle books while walking to school and narrowly avoiding being flattened by a school bus. These days, I tend to do most of my reading on my Nook, but our house is still populated with hundreds of books. I love books. A new book holds so much promise, like a new acquaintance you haven’t yet gotten to know very well but you’re just sure you’re going to love.
Fortunately, through a happy combination of nature and nurture, my kids are shaping up to be book fiends as well. My oldest daughter doesn’t just read – she inhales books. Once she became an independent reader in kindergarten, she hasn’t slowed down for a second. Our home is littered with elementary chapter books about rainbow fairies and magical kittens and talking mice. But best of all, she’s discovered Harry Potter. It’s a proud day when your child wants to discuss wand lore with you.
My son has a more tumultuous relationship with the written word, but he’s coming along. He has to be poked and coerced into practicing his reading, but he loves books and he’s far more capable than he lets on.
He’s poised on the cusp of proficiency, where the frustration is starting to fade and the sheer joy is setting in. It’s glorious to behold.
Then there’s my youngest, who’s still in the simple picture book phase. I’ll let you in on a secret – those are some of the best books in the world. Don’t believe me? Google “Elephant and Piggie” by Mo Willems. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Reading is a big part of our family bedtime routine. My son reads aloud to me. I read a couple board books. Then the lights go out, the book light goes on, and I read a chapter from whatever novel we’re working on as a family. We just finished “Peter Pan” and now we’re enjoying “The Wide Awake Princess.” Those are some of the happiest moments of my day.
Lately, my firstborn has started sneaking books and flashlights into bed so that she can keep reading after lights out. When I excavated her bed on a recent laundry day, I found four chapter books under her pillow. Officially, this behavior is frowned upon, but really I’m thrilled. So bring me your wish lists, children. There’s room on the shelves for a few more books!