Today I got to thinking about how far back my love of reading and books really goes, and discovered it goes back to when I was about five years old and my mom used to read stories out of the Children’s Highlights Magazine to my sisters and me every night before bed. The stories and the hidden pictures in the puzzles had me hooked and waiting for bedtime so I could get my “fix.” However, my mom would tell you my love of writing actually goes back to that same time when she caught me writing on the walls with my crayons. But in my defense, what a huge, open slate for a child to express and share her wild imagination. 🙂
From Highlights, I graduated to reading the Dick and Jane books, Harold and the Purple Crayon, and any and all of Dr. Seuss books.
My top five favorites that got cemented into the foundation of my reading development during each stage of life from that point on include:
During my later elementary and early Jr. High years:
1) Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
2.) Sunshine by Norma Klein
3.) Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
4.) Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
5.) Watership Down by Richard Adams
High School Years:
1.) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
2.) 1984 by George Orwell
3.) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
4.) Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
5.) The S.E. Hinton novels, That was Then, This is Now; Rumble Fish; The Outsiders
When I became a mom, I wanted to be sure to pass on my love of reading to my kids, so when I was pregnant, my unborn children had story time while they were still in the womb, as I would rock and read books aloud so they could “hear” my voice. When they were toddlers and early elementary age, I, as my mother did, read stories to them every evening at bedtime, often from Highlights Magazine. The other books they consistently wanted read to them, sometimes more than ten times a day, include:
1.) Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
2.) Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
3.) Corduroy by Don Freeman
4.) If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
5.) Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
And whether it was the first, tenth, or twentieth time reading those books, I cannot honestly say who enjoyed them more–my boys or me. 🙂
I encourage you to check these out, whether you read them for yourself or suggest them to your children. They shaped my life, encouraged and grew my love of reading, and gave me an amazing life that I couldn’t have had without them.
Thank goodness for books and the talented and imaginative authors who write them. I hope to be counted as one of them very soon.