My first memory of falling in love with books takes me way back to the tender age of five. The little “Golden Book Golden Hours Library Clock House” that I received for Christmas that year helped me become the passionate reader I am today. I cherished the collection of twelve little books and one in particular was extra special; The Four Puppies. It’s a sweet story of growing, learning, changing seasons and finding something to celebrate along the way. It’s filled with optimism, wisdom, and the loveliness of sharing life’s ups and downs with others who care about you. A few years ago I replaced my original Golden Book clock house (which was lost long ago) with what is now considered a “vintage” collector’s item. I even fashioned a Halloween costume to honor the book that first filled my heart with book love.
My first memory of discovering a reading community takes me way back to the summer just after my sixth birthday. I eagerly waited for the Carnegie Stout Pubic Library bookmobile to roll into our mobile home park each week. For me, it was a magical vessel on wheels. The library ladies (as I used to call them) who rode along with all those fine books always waited patiently for little girls like me who took longer than most to make their selections from the rows and rows of options. My fondness for bookmobiles will stay with me forever.
My first memory of longing for a book takes me way back to sixth grade when the waiting list at my school library for Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret stretched for weeks and weeks. I still remember the thrill of finally getting my hands on that book. I felt like I had found a friend who struggled with the same questions and insecurities that I was experiencing, which many 12-year-old girls were experiencing. Margaret would join my list of other “book friends,” Ramona, Pippi, and Encyclopedia Brown, to name just a few.
As a teacher and a grandma, I am intent on trying to provide these memorable experiences: falling in love with books at an early age, discovering a nurturing reading community, and longing for a certain book that brings a new friend into your life. These three significant book memories help define me as a reader. They form the foundation for my life-long love of reading and they are three of the reasons why I am so passionate about literacy. If only all children could make memories of this kind, I am certain the world would be a better place.
If I win the lottery one of these days, you might just see me pulling into your neighborhood in my very own bookmobile. Now that would be the ticket for creating book memories far and wide!