Why I Read
When I was little, and long before there was Amazon, my mom loved books.
She bought and read me beautifully illustrated and authored tomes of fairy tales and Mother Goose rhymes, fantasies and fables. And Dr. Seuss, of course. Green Eggs and Ham was the first book I supposedly read alone. I’m pretty sure my 5-year-old can “read” it also, as such, I’m pretty sure I had it memorized, but I was awfully proud of myself nonetheless. I remember it quite clearly, in fact – it was about 6am on a Saturday morning and I was so thrilled with my accomplishment that I went in to enthusiastically share this news my slumbering parents. They were not as exuberant as I had expected them to be.
Funny how what goes around comes around…but I digress.
I didn’t fall in love with reading until the fourth grade, when a teacher at Harding Elementary in Blacksburg, VA named Ellen Roback told us on the first day of school: “I want you to read in my class. In fact, I want you to read so much that if you want to read when I’m talking, that’s okay with me. Just keep one ear open.”
For me, that was a green light. I took her at her word and I started reading and I pretty much didn’t stop. There was a point, in fact, where my parents were quite afraid that I was turning into an antisocial blue-stocking and began rationing my reading time. I pulled my nose out eventually, but never stopped loving books. Or words. Or beautiful illustrations.
In college, I cobbled together a marvelous major called Humanities. It was a combination of everything I really loved – language (French), art, history and literature – Victorian Novels, Children’s LIterature…it wasn’t exactly my entrée into the world of business but I loved every minute of it and wouldn’t every go back and do it differently, even if I could.
Why do you love to read?
The Victorians really knew what they were doing when it came to words. So much marvelous children’s fiction came out of England in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Beatrix Potter, J.M. Barrie, Lewis Carroll, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, Louisa May Alcott and L.M. Montgomery – I gobbled up their books as a child and re-read them faithfully as an adult. (If you’ve never sat down to re-read Tom Sawyer or Little Women, you are MISSING OUT, friends.)
The illustrations are equally beguiling – Kate Greenaway was one of my favorites. I remember reading her book of nursery rhymes as a child…
What are your favorite children’s classics? Have you shared them with your own kids, yet?