Monday, November 05, 2007

Children's Book Week

Next week is Children's Book Week.

As I've noted many times in this blog I love children's literature. I don't particuarly like calling it children's literature because it's really just good literature that all ages can enjoy. Yes, of course Pat the Bunny and Good Night Moon is obviously written for the wee ones,but I know I will never get to old to enjoy Clement Hurd's wonderful illustrations or Margaret Wise Brown's words.

When I was a teenage I volunteered at our town library. It was also our school library and was located in the high school. The wonders of small town living. And I mean wonders. I miss small town living more and more each day. One of my duties as a volunteer was to read to the children during storytime, which was every Saturday morning. I really enjoyed it.

Most of the books I read to the kids I had at home or they had been read to me when I was a little girl. I would generally just get the book out for the next week and look through it quickly and that was it. Except for this memorable time. I was supposed to read The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.

Since I had never read this book and was totally unfamiliar with it I should have read it first. But I didn't. When reading to the kids I tried to be extra expressive and I would do different voices for different characters. I took my story book reading very seriously. At the age of 16, I took everything seriously.

So the next Saturday I sat on my little stool and started to read the story. The more I read aloud the more it was like I was reading it just to myself and the children weren't even there. The next thing I knew I just burst into tears. This beautiful story about how toys become real had moved me that much. I was so embarrassed. One of the more vocal children came up to me and said don't kigh/ Miss L., don't kigh. That just made it worse.

When I think of that little boy now, and I can still see his sweet face, but I can't recall his name, I still can feel how I felt in that moment. I'm welling up typing this with the memory so near. That little boy probably has children of his own and I hope that he spent some time reading The Velveteen Rabbit to them.

I hope that everyone has a book from their childhood that means that much. After all, the books from childhood have the power to forever change you, and they seem to be the ones that we remember the most.

Here is a list, not in any particular order, of some of my favorite "children's literature. And it's just a partial list, there's far too many to list.

1.The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge

2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

3. The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron.

4. The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank

5.Charlotte's Web by E.(Elwyn)B.(Brooks) White

6. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle

7.The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

8. The Nancy Drew Series by Mildren Wirt Benson(Carolyn Keene)

9. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

10. 365 Bedtime Stories by Mildred Gilbertson (Nan Gilbert). I adored this book and wish I could find a copy of it. For awhile there I was bidding like crazy for it on eBay, but the prices were just too high for this favorite. I had the one at top.

As you can see most of these were childhood favorites. There are so many new titles that I have come to love: The Harry Potter series, The Library by Sarah Stewart and The Herman Tantamoq Series by Michael Hoeye.

So, next week read a book to a child, purchase a book and drop it in a bin for kids that can't afford a book or maybe re-read one of your childhood favorites.

You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” ~ Madeleine L'Engle

“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.” ~Maya Angelou

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