Read Across America Day (Dr. Seuss’s birthday!) is Wednesday, March 2.
When I was a kid, reading was my favorite thing to do. Sure, I enjoyed watching the enthralling 90s shows such as the Adventures of the Gummi Bears and Gullah Gullah Island, but lying in bed reading a book (or three) was my idea of the perfect day. I grew up in East Tennessee, about an hour from Knoxville. And in Knoxville, was a Books-A-Million. In other words, my heaven. I would all but run back to the young adult section, meticulously pore over numerous contenders and an hour later, present to my parents the stack of books I’d selected. More often than not, my parents had to make me pare down my pile, from 8 books to 4 or 5. I had no concept of this at the time, but at $7-$9 a pop, sometimes as much as $15 for hardcover, buying books for me was expensive. However, my parents knew that their investment wouldn’t be in vain: I would read those 4 or 5 books in a matter of days, and they wouldn’t get tossed aside to collect dust or given to Goodwill; I always re-read my books time and time again.
I was so obsessed with reading that my parents would often have to tell me multiple times to put my book away and go to bed at night. Finally, I’d turn out my light and go read in my closet so the light couldn’t be seen through the crack under my bedroom door. (I thought I was sneaky but I’m now told that they knew about my little trick.) I felt enchanted by the stories, related to the characters, often laughed and cried aloud, and relished in the escape from reality that books afforded me. I remember feeling sad when I finished a book, like I’d lost a close friend. Books were such a huge part of my childhood and shaped me into the person I am today. Through books, I fell in love with written language and from there my love for writing blossomed. I pray that my children will love reading like I did.
Somewhere in my parents’ attic, boxes upon boxes of my childhood books are waiting to be read again. Books with food stains on the pages because I didn’t want to stop reading to eat. Books with water marks from my tears because I felt sadness as if I were part of the story.
Inside those boxes are the books I loved, and that your kids are bound to love as well:
Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner (my all-time favorite series! I own 100+.)
Chicken Soup for the Kids Soul, Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul, Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul, etc. (multiple authors)
Nancy Drew mysteries by Carolyn Keene
Full House book series (multiple authors)
American Girl series (multiple authors)
The Baby-sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin
The Bailey School Kids series by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Jones
Wayside School series by Louis Sachar
Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Jennie McGrady mysteries by Patricia Rushford
Ramona series by Beverly Cleary
Lurlene McDaniel’s novels
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Sarah Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Purple, Green, and Yellow by Robert Munsch (remember Brigid’s super-indelible-never-come-off-til-you’re-dead-and-maybe-even-later markers?)
What are your favorite childhood books? Do your children enjoy some of the same books?
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” -Dr. Seuss