For this addition to our Raising Star Readers feature, we’re delighted to once again be showcasing Deb Andries, a National Literacy Consultant who lives in Wisconsin, and her grandchildren: Finley and Grayson, who live in Cumberland, Wisconsin, and Emmersyn, who lives in Sartell, Minnesota. Grammy and her Reading Teams recently shared Guess How Much I Love You, written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram, while enjoying milestone read-togethers during their Mother’s Day celebrations.
Deb explains that the book was given to her by a friend five years ago when she was a literacy coach in Minneapolis and her family was eagerly anticipating the arrival of both Emmersyn and Grayson. Deb explains, “My friend knew how excited I was to know that there would be two to love (and they were born five days apart!).”
The book has become very meaningful for the family. As Deb says, “When I think about the bond of the love between grandparents and grandchildren, this book sends that message. As far as our arms can reach, as high as we can hop or jump, all the way up to our toes and across the lane and down the river … our love extends THAT far. When we read the book, the grandkids are enamored by the illustrations and how Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare share how much they love one another. Then, we talk about those very same things. ‘I love you, Grammy, as far as my arms can reach.’ And, ‘I love you, Emmersyn, Grayson, and Finley as far as MY arms can reach!’
Deb loves the time spent reading aloud together. As she explains, “This time with a book, snuggled up tight together, is special and creates a bond of love that is like no other. There’s always room on Grammy’s lap for all of us to lean in to listen and share the words, and then our own ‘I love you as much.…’ We also have a tradition with the book: we trace their handprint once a year and write their name, as a ‘memory maker’ of this love and bond.”
Deb adds: “We read the book around Mother’s Day this year, but we also read it many other times during the year. Any day, and every day, is a good day to spend time together in books and conversations around them. Reading indoors or outdoors, books are a powerful way to help my grandkids learn about the world around them, share stories we love, and find new stories, too.”
We here at Bookology wish Deb and her Reading Teams many wonderful hours of reading together this summer! If you would like us to feature your Reading Team when Bookology starts up again in the fall, contact Lisa Bullard for further information about how to participate.