Friday, November 07, 2008

Flashback Friday

I've seen "Flashback Fridays" on other blogs and thought it might be an appropriate title for this post today, but I'm not including any pictures of me wearing plaid bell bottom pants (like I did when I was 7) or leg warmers (when I was 14).

I was actually thinking about my childhood this last week as I worked on an article for a statewide publication on the fact that this next week is National Children's Book Week. The article focuses on both current and "classic" books for children and also gives tips for parents to help their children develop a love for reading.

As I was working on the article, I also happened to make my weekly trip to the local thrift store in search of good books (the thrift store is my very favorite place to buy books, and I have two local ones that have awesome collections). I came home with this book for Sydney...

When I saw it on the shelf, I literally squealed out loud. I had specific memories of my Mom reading this book to me when I was a young child, and I had always loved it.

Immediately after we got home with it, I sat down and read it to Sydney and found myself transported back to my childhood again...sitting in my Mom's lap as she read the book to us and as we laughed out loud about the stories.

The book has five stories about George and Martha, hippos who happen to be best friends. They are very simple stories, written with an early 1970s-sensibility and an innocence that is really remarkable. It's all about friendship and truthfulness and understanding.

And it's really funny. Sydney already goes back through the book and "reads" it out loud to anyone who will listen to it, giggling all the way through it.

You really can't imagine...well, perhaps you can...the joy I get out of seeing her have such joy as we read the book together. It's like a full circle has been created...from my childhood, to hers, and back to me again (as an adult, enjoying it all over again).

A few weeks ago I made another trip to the thrift store and found this book...

I already had one copy of this book at home, but this was a hardback copy that I could tell had never been opened. (Next to the excitement of actually finding this awesome book for 59 cents was the disappointment that someone actually owned and apparently never even opened it. Boy, did they miss out on a good story!)

I've read that book to all three of the girls and we often will say something like, "I had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day" in reference to our own life.

There are so many other great kids books that I remember from my childhood...Dr. Seuss (I probably read his ABC book hundreds of times as a child, and I read it to Sydney still today), The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Caps for Sale (another wonderful book that I found at the thrift store also!), The Giving Tree, Where the Wild Things Are. I really think that my love for reading today came from my parents reading those sorts of books to me when I was little.

Today, I still own copies of all of those books and I read all of them to McKenna and Delaney when they were little and read them now to Sydney. (Gary has always read a lot to them too, although he always requests to read Runaway Bunny to them. It's his very favorite children's book!). But, we've also discovered books that didn't exist when I was a child.

Books like the fantastic ones by Kevin Henkes, my favorite current children's author. All of his books are amazing, but these are our two favorites...


I love them because of the way Henkes puts words and sentences together. The girls have always loved them for the great pictures and cute characters. All of us love them because of the message that comes through all of the books--that you, as an individual, are special; and that there is nothing wrong with being a little bit unique.

So...on this Flashback Friday: what are some of your favorite books and memories of books from your childhood?

And oh...here are some of the favorite tips I gave in my article on how to encourage reading in the life of your child. (These came from my bestest friend, Angela, who happens to be a librarian and knows more about books than anyone I've ever known!):

~ Provide a wide range of reading material for your children (fiction, nonfiction, magazines, comic books, encyclopedias, anything!)

~ Talk to your children about what they're reading

~ Listen to audio books on trips

~ If a book is made into a movie, go to it together and then discuss the differences (I'm counting the days to the Twilight movie! LOL)

~ Take your child to the library

~ Give books as gifts

~ Start a family book club, or start one with your child's friends

~ Create a quiet place in the home for your child to read

~ Read out loud to your child (even when he or she gets older)

~ Set a good example by reading yourself!

16 comments:

Adrienne said...

OHhhhh those are GREAT CHILDREN'S BOOKS!!!

I am blessed that all three of mine love to read!! And you already know I LOVE a good booK!

Lynilu said...

My grandchildren know to expect books as my gifts. It is usually a gift card for Borders, or if I'm with them for the holiday or birthday, we go shopping together. I've almost completed the Shel Silverstein books in both households, too.

My favorite childhood books? I was an avid reader, so there are SO many. I loved the Nancy Drew books and read them over and over. The set originally belonged to my sister who will be 77 in a few days, so they were really classics! But when you ask about "favorites," it takes me back to being just a wee one. I had two books that I loved my mom to read to me, a very big volume of nursery rhymes and a book of children's lullabies (I still have this one somewhere). Long past the days that I needed her to read them, I loved her to do so. But I especially liked the lullaby book because mom had a lovely alto voice and she sang those to me. Wow, I miss my mom.

Becky Welch said...

If I could have majored in children's literature, I would have!! I had forgotten (shame shame) that Children's Book Week was next week. I will have to do something with that!
Roll Tide!!!

Jeff said...

What a great post!

I LOVED "Alexander and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." That was a favorite. As was "Harold and the Purple Crayon" and "Charlotte's Web."

"Harold" was by far my favorite. I have a copy on the bookshelf at home and sometimes when I'm looking for what to read next I'll just pull that out and read a bit of that while I'm standing there.

I'm looking forward to "Twilight" too. I'm about half done with the book now ** SPOILER COMING... If you haven't read the book skip to the next paragraph ** I started reading the chapter this morning where Bella sees Edward in the sun for the first time... that was unexpected and cool. I thought he'd be translucent rather than sparkly gold.

Funny we both wrote about kid lit today. I Geeked Out on "The Secret Garden."

Anyway... have a good weekend and thanks for the blast from the past.

Cheryl Wray said...

Adrienne-- I knew that YOU would appreciate the post. :-)

Lynilu--What wonderful, wonderful memories of your Mom. I also love Shel S's books. They are incredible.

Becky--I think it's a great week to celebrate reading!

Jeff--I totally forgot to mention the Harold books. I LOVE them too!!! And, ooh yes...that scene in Twilight is SO cool!! I've already decided I have to go back and read it again before the movie comes out!

Laura said...

What a great post! My daughter loves books. I take her to the library (we normally make it to Pajama Jam) and she loves the books with CDs to listen in the car on the way to school in the mornings. Her favorite "series" right now are the "Froggy" books, but I can't remember the author. Wayne got down a whole box of his books that he had while growing up and she thought she had fell into a gold mine! Do you remember "RIF" - reading is fun? I wonder whatever happen to that organization/campaign?!?

Gretchen said...

As a speech pathologist by background, reading has always been a passion, and something to which I ride my "high horse" about. There is nothing like a love of reading--I think it's married to the love of learning.

Luurrrved reading the 2 Henkes books to my dtr when she was Sydney's age. Also, we enjoyed The Kissing Hand and Wemberly Worried when she went off to kindergarten. How can she be in 5th grade already??? My favorites from when the kids were little are: Goodnight Moon, The Little House series, The Narnia Series, and of course, The Giving Tree. We also like to read picture books and have collected them for each holiday. Lurrrve the Grinch!

Yeah, I suppose there isn't enough space for all my faves...Oh, one more: Charlotte's Web.

And as they've gotten a bit older: The Harry Potter series.

My faves as a kid were "Are You my Mother"? and The Hardy Boys (better than ND). I also loved the Cherry Ames: Student nurse books. Old, old, old.

Great, fun post.

hippo chick said...

OMIGOSH! Cheryl,

You have included some of my very favorite books. When I met James Marshall many years ago, I told him I was famous for my George and Martha stories. He seemed pleased. I had George and Martha puppets. What fun!!!

Also, I LOVE Kevin Henkes. Have you read his books for older J's? Olive's Ocean and Words of Stone are absolutele stunning books. He has such a way with words.

Once again, we are surely kindreds.

I'm soooo excited over this post.

~hippo hugs~
Pam

Marjolein said...

Don't know any of this.... part of being Dutch I'm afraid!!
Have a great weekend!!!

Phats said...

I took a class in college called Kiddie Lit. it was quite fun reading the classics over again, like Peter Rabbit, Wrinkle in time, Charlotte's web, and Tuck Everlasting. Flashbacks are great!

Are you not doing picks on the gameday blog anymore?

Dettao said...

I love books! I have no memories of my mom reading to me but we made tons of trips to the library. I read all of the Nancy Drews and Little Women is still my all time favorite book in the whole wide world. I've read it dozens of time and still cry every time. My kids loved the Dr Seuss books, the Serendipity books, the Berenstain Bears and we read Bean Boy so many times they had it memorized and so did I. I also love all of the ones you mentioned.

Auburn Kat said...

I've never heard of those books!! My favorite book was a book of poems...The Sidewalk Never Ends. I loved, loved, loved it! I also loved the Bernstein Bears!!!

renee said...

Hi Cheryl! Just stopped by to see if you were still screaming after the game. Rollllll Tideeeee!

hippo chick said...

Hey Cheryl!!

ROLLLLL TIDE!!!!

What a game!!

~hippo hugs~
P.

Debbie said...

Oh what a super post! I have always loved to read and I have past that on to at least three of my kids. I am going to have to check out that book for my grandkids! I think when you love to read the whole world is open to you!

Monogram Queen said...

I never find good books at the Thrift Store (but I did score some Polo Ralph Lauren, Sperry's and Vineyard Vines clothes yesterday).

I love reading to Maddie and she reads to me too. I wish I would stumble upon some of the books from my childhood. I have such sweet memories of so many! I do have one called "Adopted Jane" that I love. Ever read that one?
I love how you instill your love of books in your girls Cheryl. That is truly a treasure beyond measure that you are giving them.