The cover picture was taken from Pinterest from a site called “We Got the Funk”. Thanks for this and should you desire I will remove the picture.
When I was a boy, I was read to every night. Different people would read different things. My mother tended to read short stories from one of the story collections we had. My father tended to read full books chapter by chapter. To be honest I much preferred listening to my father. The stories were exciting and his voice was perfect. A lot of the time I found the stories my mother read to be boring!
And then when I had children, I also read to them every night. You can guess that often I would read them chapter books too. With my kids, it was almost always me who did the reading. It wasn’t something my first wife enjoyed. So for this week’s meme, I’m considering books that were read to me but also books I read to my children. Reading to your children is the best way to open up the magic of fiction and the wonderment of books. I firmly believe that reading to children sets them up for success at school and also (perhaps more importantly) opens their imaginations!
I spoke in my first post about fiction that I love. I mentioned CS Lewis and the “Chronicles of Narnia”. These are books that I have always loved. My father read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe to me when I was very young. It was exciting and I looked forward to the next time he would read to me. It was with disappointment that I realized he was finishing it. So it was great that he then went to the next book in the series (Prince Caspian) and read that to us. As young children we hadn’t realized that there were more than one book in the series. At any rate I was a precocious reader and I read the whole series of seven books in grade one. I particularly liked the fact that the last book was also the first book explaining how Narnia came to be. It was a perfect circular fictional series. It was also a series that I read to my girls when they had reached a certain point. They like me, really enjoyed the tales!
Another book I read to my girls wasn’t written until 1986. It was written by prolific child author Robert Munsch. Called Love You Forever, it was a book that often brought tears to my eyes. It seemed that no matter how often I read it to my girls I would have this reaction. I’ve heard Munsch do it himself and he has a particular melody that he sings. I used to sing that same melody to my girls. The song in the story goes like this:
“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always! As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be!”
I don’t think there are many messages you can send to your children that are better than this.
Another book I read to my girls–but don’t ever recall it being read to me is The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. Written in 1922, this book has definitely stood the test of time. In short a young boy is given a stuffed rabbit. The toy doesn’t capture his imagination and he puts it down to play with his other new toys that are modern and exciting. One night the boy’s grandmother gives him the rabbit to sleep with and before you know it the rabbit becomes a favourite of the boy. The toy rabbit has heard that the love of the boy could make it real and he longs to become real. When the boy gets scarlet fever, and then recovers the toy is scheduled to be burned along with all the other possessions of the boy. Put out in the garbage waiting to be burned the velveteen rabbit cries a real tear which hits the ground. From this spot a flower magically grows and a fairy appears from this flower. She promises to make him real because he has become real to the boy.
Finally I want to mention the Harry Potter series by J K Rowling. My girls were older as these novels came into prominence, but I read several to them. I would guess they are the last books I read to them. By this time my daughters were reading by themselves but we continued the tradition of daddy reading to them for a while. I think I read them the first three books in the series–maybe even the fourth. It was always a special time. They would cuddle up to me wrapped up in their blankets and I’d read. I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything.
As usually I wish to thank the lovely May Moore for generating this meme and doing all the work to make it a success. If you are a parent or grandparent there are bound to be some really good recommendations from all the participants this week. Have a check and perhaps you’ll find something new to read to your little ones!