February 28, 2012

Children's Books

I have boxes in my attic filled with books my children read all through elementary school. These are two of my son's favorites. Every night I would read him either a Dr. Seuss book or a story about the Berenstain Bearsusually bothor several. When he was 8-years-old, I read him, New Baby, and then announced that he was finally going to be a big brother. I was saddened to to hear that co-creator, Jan Berenstain, just passed away, but I was reminded of all of the wonderful nights we shared her, and her husband Stan's, lovely words and illustrations with my son and then eventually both of my daughters. Their books helped teach him life lessons that every parent tries to accomplish on their own, but with the help of cute, furry bears, it makes that task a bit easier.

In addition to every book the Berenstain's ever wrote we have just as many, if not more, Dr. Seuss books. From Green Eggs and Ham to the Cat in the Hat (one of his favorites) and everything in between, the rhymes and reasons of Dr. Seuss were stuck in our heads for years. When it was time to read these classics to my girls, I didn't skip a beat, and sometimes, I didn't even need to turn a page to know what was coming next.

My son eventually turned his affections to Brian Jacques Redwall series and Harry Potter. Which then turned the girls on to Harry Potter, but only after they found their own favorites, including Eloise, We're Going on a Bear Hunt, Auntie Claus, The Secret Garden, Little House on the Prairie....and the list goes on and on. I even shared some of my favoritesNancy Drew, Anne of Green Gableshoping my love of reading would rub off on them. And thankfully it did.

I am indebted to Dr. Seuss, Stan and Jan Berenstain, and J.K. Rowling, for they have helped mold my children into dreamers and thinkers and lovers of books. I am in awe of any writer who, with just a stroke of his or her pen, can transport children to another place and time. For when you read a book, any book, you are held captive in a world filled with infinite possibilities.

The books I have in my attic are stored away for my children's children, so that we can continue this great adventure.


Stephanie A. Hilliard said...

Oh, the memories those books bring back! My mother read the Dr. Seuss books to me, and I read those plus the Berenstein Bears and many of the others to my daughter. We're a family of readers, and it is a precious tradition to pass down. Books take us places we would never get to go if we had to take a train, or a bus, or a plane...

Anonymous said...

Dear Kim,
I'm having a great time just now re-discovering books of my own pre-teen and teen years way back in the 70ies. This pleasure is even more keen because I can now read them in the language they were originally written in. Re-reading them as a grown-up some of the "strange" locations and foreign ways of the (mostly)heroines finally begin to make more sense - something like cultural awareness kicking in I guess. It's a completely fresh and new way of revisting stories you read a long, long time ago.
At long last I have learned to let go of books - but I wouldn't dream of ever parting with my favourite kid lit.

Jamie said...

This post makes me want to go out and buy my favorite children's books and give them away (and keep some for myself)!


Kimberly Merritt said...

It's so great to hear how many of us are drawn to children's books--at every age.

Stephanie, I look forward to reading more of your posts.

Thank you all for stopping by.

Kelly said...

Hi Kim-Just read this entry and the Chacchia's in Webster are part of the Bear Family's familiar tree house. We adore Stan and Jan and pull out the books still to this day to refresh an important life lesson or simply to be nostalgic. Those smart bears, down a sunny dirt road, deep in Bear Country really did touch on all things a parent will deal with during their children's childhood.
I wish my love of reading went to my son, but at least my daughter enjoys the adventures in books. Maybe one day for my son.

Kimberly Merritt said...

Hi Kelly. Thank you for posting. I told my son he was going to be a big brother after I read him "New Baby".

All three of my children were late readers and didn't really pick up a book on their own until middle school. There's still hope. :o)