I developed my love for the vernacular at an early age. Reading was a fun pastime for me and I treasure my very young memories of spending hours with my nose in the book – The Poky Little Puppy. After my parents had read it to me at least a thousand times, I then regaled myself with that tale ad nauseam. Even now, I recall the story with such great fondness. That series of children’s books certainly lived up to the name aptly given to them – Little Golden Books.
The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein, is another book that will always hold a very special place in my heart. The message it conveyed is still embedded deeply in my childhood memories and is carried with me today.
As I got older, chapter books grabbed my attention and would not let go. I was swept into a miraculous sea of imagination and wonder. Oh, the places I could venture! Judy Blume was my absolute hero as I matured into my teen years. Akin to how I feel about Dean Koontz today, she spun tales that I would read until my eyes felt like they were bleeding. I read everything she put to paper and when I was finished her collection, I started over again.
Roald Dahl was another master of vocabulary and he spun tales that kept me enthralled into the wee hours of the night. A hidden flashlight and a phony admission to my mother that I would go to bed resulted in me hiding under the covers to lose myself in the pages for just a while longer. Stories were a magical place where dream-like creatures came to life and the stagnant brain of a child was immersed in possibility. C.S. Lewis had me wishing that, while I slept, my closet would transform into a portal that led to Narnia.
With all of the cherished memories I obtained by reading, I was overjoyed to share that magic with the next generation. I absolutely loved to read to my ex’s three children and, like Mrs. Doubtfire, I used different voices for each of the characters. We would take turns reading Harry Potter and each one of us wished that bedtime was just a little further away. Years later, reading to my nephews allowed their extended bed time to be filled with countless stories from an abundance of characters. How could I say no when they excitedly asked me to read more fables of magical creatures?
I was rather inspired to write this post after attending one of my nephew’s recent hockey games. Every child that was not on the ice had their hands eagerly wrapped around some electronic device that sputtered out mechanical noises from the latest game they were playing. Wouldn’t it be great to see a child with a book in their hands, consumed by words and ensconced in imagination instead of killing zombies or launching Angry Birds? I will admit, I’ve spent my share of time launching those same Angry Birds, but I still, and will always, put words ahead of birds!!
Do you read with the children in your lives?