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!