Growing up, my dad worked for Borders and my mom was a teacher. They are both first generation college graduates, but had siblings who also attended college. They are both avid readers and lovers of knowledge. I later worked for Borders and have always loved books. I used to read aloud to my pet frog or spend all weekend reading to see how many books I could go through.
I have always had a library card and remember when I had to practice my name in cursive in order to sign for it. Wallace got his library card this past year after learning how to write his first and last name, which he now enjoys doing on everything. He gets to pick out and check out books on his own, which is a huge privilege and responsibility!
I’ve always had books around for Wallace – board books, fiction , nonfiction, picture books, chapter books, eye spy, reference books – and have made a point to read to him nearly daily since he was a baby. He loves books too and it is one of my favorite parts of parenting to get to share these things with him. We snuggle up on the couch and enjoy books together throughout the day and especially at bedtime.
I have been reading chapter books to him since he was 3 and his comprehension of and love for stories has only grown. Some of our favorites are Magic Tree House, Mercy Watson, Paddington, Ralph S Mouse series, Pippi Longstocking, and the Wild Robot series. I haven’t always made time for my own resding, so sometimes these books are all I get and they have to be good.
Since my job is all about finding and selling books, we spend a lot of time at library book sales and thrift stores. We had an extensive library before, but it keeps growing exponentially! Our collection is made up of books from my childhood, books my mom had used as a teacher, new books for Wallace from book orders, and used or free books. Yesterday, I integrated the book sale finds from November into the various shelves, which took a lot of reorganizing. It still needs work and I would love to purge a few.
I can’t remember where I read it, but some studies showed that having just 40 picture books in the home increased graduation rates. Another article I read talked about how in some neighborhoods there is a huge shortage of books and sometimes is only one per every 30 families. That is baffling to me! There are great resources like the little free library and the Dolly Parton book mailing program that help to get books into the hands of kids who need them. At some thrift stores, kids books are only 10 to 25 cents. Clearly I have been thinking a lot about books in terms of disparity and privilege.
I’d love to include cute pictures of us reading together, but that requires someone else to be around. Here’s a cute Wallace picture for fun.