Rediscovering a young love

June 22, 2011 by Cara Bailey
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Katy Brown’s blog about reading aloud to your children got me thinking about my childhood. Some of my fondest memories are when my dad would read to me and my brother. He read the classics, Oliver Twist (my brother’s namesake), Huckleberry Finn, Aesop’s Fables, and the Sunday funnies.

I’m pretty sure my love of the comics led to my love of newspapers, then my desire to become a journalist.

As I grew older, my love of reading flourished. I was all over Beatrix Potter, Dr. Suess, Nancy Drew, the Boxcar Children, the Baby-Sitters Club, teenage mysteries, and the like. I read for enjoyment all the way until college, when I was forced to read thousands and thousands of pages a semester, and it became laborious, not fun.

When the Nicholas Spark craze hit the rest of my friends, one friend said, “Cara only reads real books.” Not by choice. The Notebook sounds much more romantic than Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think. While my friends read the Twilight series, I was reading The Kite Runner (great book, but not one you can sink yourself into.)

Having my son (and a sister that works at Border’s) has allowed me the opportunity to dive back into reading for pleasure, as well as discover classics that I never read.

For example, I had no reason to pay much attention to Eric Carle until my son’s great-aunt gifted Carle’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear. He loves it. He has two copies at home, and yet still pulls it off the bookshelf if he sees it at the store. He has to sit down and read it right then.

Another favorite is The Whole Night Through, by David Frampton. A lullaby with gorgeous woodcuts created by the author, the book is the perfect way to kick off bedtime. I learned new animals, such as the eland and the kinkajou, from reading that book.

To my surprise, I realized I had never read Where The Wild Things Are or The Polar Express, both Caldecott winners that were somehow overlooked in my school days. They are on our bookshelf now.

We’ve picked up a few new favorites in the past couple of months as well. My ceramics instructor suggested Ain’t Gonna Paint No More, an amazingly illustrated tale of one ornery boy who uses his body as a canvas, instead of the ceilings and the wall and the curtains and the door. The music teacher boyfriend picked out Do You Do A Didgeridoo? by Nick Page. The energetic and rhythmic book is great to read while bouncing a little one on your knee.

My mother kept all of our Dr. Suess books, so my son is reading the same Cat In The Hat and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish that I used to flip through.

Since I’ve been reading to my little one, I’ve also found I want to read for myself again. I’m working through The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy now, and hope to move on to Water For Elephants and Tina Fey’s Bossypants. I’m a little behind on the most recent titles, but I’m getting there.

What are some of your favorites, past and present? What are you reading now? What do your kids like?

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19 Responses to “Rediscovering a young love”

  1. KatyNo Gravatar says:

    That’s funny! I referenced you in my next piece about summer vacation!

    You…inspire … me. (In my best Jerry Maguire voice.)

  2. bradmcNo Gravatar says:

    At our house, we enjoy “Kitten’s First Full Moon” for the beautiful pictures and clever prose, “Baby Goes Beep” for the fun images and rhythmic patterns and “The Little Hippos’ Adventure” because what’s not to like about cute hippos having an adventure.

    Or at least those are some of my faves. Everybody else might have grown out of that stuff by now.

    Plus also, a couple of classics: “Are You My Mother” and “Go Dog Go.” They’re totally silly.

  3. GDirtyNo Gravatar says:

    Walter The Farting Dog is pretty awesome.

    • Cara BaileyNo Gravatar says:

      And perfect for a little guy who believes farting is hilarious. It really is in men’s DNA, isn’t it?

  4. RoseNo Gravatar says:

    We read a lot at our house because people who read make better communicators, and children have a much better chance in the world if they can communicate well. As a person who believes that and teaches it, I’m disappointed–very disappointed–to see such a big grammatical mistake in this blog. The writer should know better and so should the copy editor (and all the others who read this before it was published). The fact that the mistake was made and that no one at the newspaper caught it is a sad comment on the priority of reading and English in this world. So, read to your kids when they are little, but don’t let reading stop when they get older. And by all means, if you plan to work as a writer or editor, don’t let mistakes like this happen. Set a better example–especially if you’re blogging in a newspaper about reading, for Heaven’s sake.

    • bradmcNo Gravatar says:

      This is a blog, rather than an article that is published in the physical newspaper. The tone is casual and the editing is minimal.

    • Cara BaileyNo Gravatar says:

      Sorry Rose, I wrote this stream of consciousness, and no one edits our informal blogs.

    • KarenNo Gravatar says:

      I am sure the nice mommies who blog for free are happy to receive your constructive criticism. I write to offer a little editing for you. I found a grammatical mistake in your comment. You have used hyphens instead of dashes. I am sure you own a copy of the MLA Style Manual. Please refer to 2.2.5: “To indicate a dash, type two hyphens, leaving no space before, between, or after. Do not overuse dashes, substituting them for other punctuation marks.”

    • KatyNo Gravatar says:

      Whatever happened to praise in public, reprimand in private? If I make a mistake, I hope someone sends an e-mail to me. There’s no need to make someone look or feel bad, or to humiliate them. A typo or a grammatical error can be fixed…but scolding someone in front of a crowd? How is that helpful?

  5. CarrieNo Gravatar says:

    When my now 8yr old was about 3, my brother and sister in law lived in Hawaii. For his birthday, they sent him 2 books: “The Goodnight Gecko” and “Gecko Hide and Seek”, both by Gil McBarnet. These are great books! “The Goodnight Gecko” is a wonderful story of a baby gecko being shown the wonders of the Hawaiian night by his mother, and “Gecko Hide and Seek” is a nice interactive book where you search out the gecko’s that are hiding through out the pages. My son LOVED them and we read those 2 books LITERALLY every night before bed. Naturally, it got to the point where we both knew them by heart. Then came along our second son, who also loved (loves) to be read to….and he too loves those books. They are becoming a bit tattered, but still holding up after being read pretty much daily for a good 5 or so years!

    • Cara BaileyNo Gravatar says:

      That’s wonderful! My mom used to put duct tape down the spines of our Dr. Suess books, because we would wear them out. That’s how you know the book is good.

  6. RoseNo Gravatar says:

    The error has been fixed, thank you. The excuse that it’s casual or informal is really no excuse. Clearly, you care about good writing or you wouldn’t have made the change. Sad that you reacted defensively at first. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s a better example to own up to it and fix it than to try to think of reasons it’s OK. Thank you for fixing it.


    • BradmcNo Gravatar says:

      Rose, you were on the attack, dude. Writing also includes tone. Your tone was attack-y. In fact, it still is.

  7. bradmcNo Gravatar says:

    Oh! Rose! You will most certainly want to send a sharply worded letter to Kate Middleton ASAP!: “Grateful Kate and the handwritten Wimbledon thank you letter… with a spelling mistake”

    Read more:–spelling-mistake.html#ixzz1Q6Xo9GES

  8. RoseNo Gravatar says:

    I’m sorry you feel that way, bradmc, and that you have attacked me now. I have been a school teacher for a number of years, and when I said I was disappointed, I meant it. This is a newspaper, and it should be something our children can look to for a good example of how to communicate.

    Reading also includes some responsibility and critical thought. You have chosen to give my words a sharp edge rather than the calm voice with which I wrote them. I’ve seen that reaction from others who feel threatened or foolish or who are otherwise unable to accept their errors. But the error was not yours, was it?

    • bradmcNo Gravatar says:

      I don’t know about all that.

      What I do know is, “Rose and the Grammar Taliban” would make an excellent rock band name.

  9. RoseNo Gravatar says:

    You accuse me of “being on the attack” and then call me a terrorist. Amazing.

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