One of the biggest goals I have as a parent is to show Jack and Carolyn how valuable reading is. It is no secret that I am a bookworm, and this summer I expect to read through a book about every other day. I want Jack and Carolyn to find the same magic in books that I have all my life, and so books are a huge part of our life and daily routine.
We usually read a few books throughout the morning, usually board books or simple picture books. Additionally, Jack has taken to sitting alone in his papasan chair in his room and reading for a period of time in the afternoon. We read a book or a few poems before naptime, and later in the afternoon sometimes Carolyn will want to flip through one while Jack plays cars, so we’ll do that. I keep a running stock of different books for them in the car, for longer trips to Princeton or New York. Finally, at night, we all sit together and read a book and five or six poems before they go to sleep.
Every time I take the kids to the library or story hours at local bookstores, I am astounded by the number of books on the shelves. We have a huge collection, and somehow my Amazon cart always contains at least five new books waiting to be ordered. The library has been a great resource for us, because it allows us to try different books without dropping cash on them right away. That way we can get only the books that we really treasure, and the rest can circle on and off the shelves of area libraries! I thought I’d give you guys an idea of what we’ve been reading lately, and which books we couldn’t go a day without. It seemed fitting, since today is so wet and gross that we’ve spent the morning inside reading a bunch of these:
Trucks, trains, and boats: this is Jack’s section of the shelf. He’ll read any book about anything with wheels or an engine, so it’s not difficult to pick out books, but these are a few of his favorites. His Chuggington book has flaps that you can lift up, and that’s always fun for him- Maurya and Julius gave it to him, because they’re geniuses. This is a great one for long car rides. The Little Engine is an absolute classic, and the smaller copy is actually my brothers from their childhood! I’m not crazy about him having open access to that copy, since every once in a while he’s been known to rip pages. My friend Brittany got him the larger edition, which has the most beautiful illustrations. I just love it 🙂
Classics: the books I read as a child, that we return to again and again, that never get old. Eloise is a favorite of Carolyn’s, and I’ve been looking at Madeline books for her as well. Fox in Socks is my favorite to read, but Jack’s favorite is Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear. King and King is a wonderful story about a prince whose mother wants him to marry, but none of the princesses he meets seem to fit- until he meets….another prince! It’s so cute. Fun fact: Are You My Mother was my mother’s book when she was a little girl!
We also have a small stock of board books, mostly for Carolyn now, but Jack will flip through them from time to time. Urban Babies Wear Black and Foodie Babies Wear Bibs are two other favorites, but they’re out in the car. I’m really loving the “Little Miss” books- P & P and Jane Eyre! Too cute!
These are the universal favorites- the ones that, if every other book in the world disappeared, we’d survive on these few. They’re all popular with both of the kids and myself- I love, love, LOVE reading these books! Blowin’ in the Wind is an illustrated version of the Bob Dylan song. John Muth does the most incredible watercolor and ink illustrations, and we are obsessed, as you’ll soon see. A Book of Sleep is just a really solid pre-bed story that I enjoy about a little owl. Zen Ties and Zen Ghosts are both written and illustrated by Muth, and feature the use of Zen Buddhist philosophy, haiku, and a giant zen panda to convey meaningful lessons. One is a book that beautifully addresses bullying (and reverse bullying) through the use of color and numbers. I actually read it at Bucks last year for Reading, Writing Women because I thought it was such a treasure. Tales of Beedle the Bard are children’s stories from the Harry Potter books, and they’re all cute, but we really like the Tale of the Three Brothers. Finally, the two books that we couldn’t live without: Caroline Kennedy’s A Family of Poems and, our most recent addition, Poems to Learn by Heart. These are beautifully illustrated by Muth, and organized by Kennedy into overarching themes preceded by little introductions explaining her connection to the works. Her family had a deep appreciation for poetry, and in these volumes she shares some of her favorite works for children- most of them very famous and classic poems that I know and enjoy myself! It tickles me to know that Jack and Carolyn are growing up reading Frost and Dickinson.
As for me, I’m working my way through a knee-high stack of books that I’ve been meaning to read for some time. First things first, I am re-reading The Great Gatsby, in an effort to undo some of the movie’s garish imagery. After that, it’s on to East of Eden, The Bell Jar, and a collection of Flannery O’Connor short stories. I have also been really into Ben Yagoda and Steven Pinker, and will probably be tackling a few of their books toward the middle of the summer. I’ve been digging in to Nikky Finney’s works lately- she’s so dynamic, I can’t get enough. Elizabeth Raby is another favorite. Finally, I’m hoping to re-read both Moby Dick and Pride and Prejudice sometime in August, because it’s been a while.
I am being treated to a surprise visit by Patty this afternoon- hooray! We’re going to grab smoothies, for sure, and then probably heading up to Doylestown to check out a new Farmers Market, and then maybe some food with Maurya and Julius, or if it’s getting too late, back home for…more food. Right now, it’s nap time, which is Mom-code for a full sixty minutes of having full use of my hands! 😉