Passing It On - My Favorite Books From Childhood
From the moment I felt my oldest daughter quickening in my belly, I was already making plans and stockpiling favorite books and CDs to share with my kids. I had lofty notions about avoiding all televsion and movies until, say, college, but I was steadily filling a bookshelf next to the crib with classics - like Goodnight Moon - and not so classics - The Giant Jam Sandwich. Some of my fondest memories from my childhood take place on the couch, snuggled up with my mom and siblings as she read picture book after picture book. She kept them all safe, and I gleefully raided her stash of books from my childhood as I prepared for my daughter's arrival.
There is something magical about pulling my own children into my arms and cracking open the pages of a story so familiar that I can recite it from memory. The words fall from my lips effortlessly, and I watch their faces instead, reacting to the artwork, turning the pages with chubby hands and adding their own two cents on every illustration. My kids are fascinated by The Little House - like me, they pour over the simple illustrations, imagining the lives of the tiny figures, and tracing the orchards and roads with sticky fingers. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel is another story that has captured all of our imaginations. I still want to kick mean Mr. Henry B. Swap in the shins on behalf of hard-working Mike. Pirates in the Park still gets me on the edge of my seat - who doesn't love a good pirate story starring a girl named Jenny?
Now that my oldest is seven, and starting second grade, we've finally begun to read the smaller chapter books that enthralled me as a young elementary school student. I devoured these little paperbacks, and searched the library for new series to read. The Littles still tickle my imagination, and we've just finished reading Misty, Stormy and Sea Star. We've made our way through the Happy Little Family series and have read several of the Little House on the Prairie series. I found myself as in love with Roald Dahl as I was in third grade as we read through The BFG and The Witches in one weekend. We've got my dog-eared copies of Beverly Cleary's Ramona books on the shelf.
I've written about our shared love of Trixie Belden and her crime-solving, horse-riding gang. I have put aside copies of Zilpha Keatley Snyder's The Changeling and Robert C. O'Brien's The Silver Crown, Bridge to Terabithia for the years ahead, when I feel like we're ready to tackle some darker themes.
I'm dying to find out if my kids will embrace the March sisters and make their stories their own, like my sister and I did. I'm excited when I see my kids conjuring pirate ships from walnut shells, and imagining life in rural Kentucky. I know that we are creating memories that will linger as they look into their own children's sleepy faces and whisper "Goodnight stars, goodnight air..."
The Lovely Mrs. Davis is celebrating the 37th anniversary of Sesame Street! She wants to know what books, movies, music or television shows from our childhood we are looking forward to sharing with our own children. Go check out her roundup of children's media memories!