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 Bears—usually both—or 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 favorites—Nancy Drew, Anne of Green Gables—hoping 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.