The flames flicked slowly and seductively over the glowing embers, the soft warm light and smell of the wood permeated the room. In her pink flannelette PJ’s the little girl sat there entranced, excited, her book on her lap waiting…waiting for her Mum to read her a story.
This is one of my fondest childhood memories sitting in front of the slow combustion stove in winter snuggled up waiting for Mum to read to me. To lose myself in another world, one that would help transport me to an exciting make believe world.
Years went by, I grew up moved away and while I did not think my childhood experiences, I had developed a lifelong habit of reading for pleasure. It was until my son was born that I reflected back Every night was story time…and any other time he could manage to get me to sit down…. we spent many hours pouring over books, reading, looking at pictures, lost in a world limited only by our imagination. It was a time full of intrigue, fun and closeness. Many books passed through our hands and he had his favourites. ‘The Little Red Hen’ was one.
Today I have my granddaughters aged 2 and 7 and they love having stories read to them. It is my belief that children who are read to develop the habit and joy of reading and it helps them with English and their ability to express themselves throughout life.
I don’t know about you but I love reading, it gives me such pleasure, It stimulates the imagination. The joy of reading to my grandchildren is a precious gift, one that I cherish.
This week is designated as National Book Week. Many schools and public libraries from all over Australia spend the week celebrating books and Australian authors and illustrators. Classroom teachers, teacher librarians and public librarians develop activities, offer competitions and tell stories relating to a theme to highlight the importance of reading. To see more check out…
Children’s Book Council Of Australia Website: cbca.org.au/bookweek.htm
My story is as usual, more personal. Even though the sentiment of this blog post comes from Book Week and my love of reading.
I mentioned closeness a moment ago… there is something so special in cuddling up with a child to read, to feel their softness, their trust in you and they conveniently forget all about how to count how many books there are on the bed!
When Amy now aged 7 was little she was enthralled by the Night Garden series. of books. As a TV series it is described as a theatrical spectacular for toddlers.
As creator and writer of this series Andrew Davenport has delighted children and mystified parents and grandparents . Yep…he got that right.
It was a challenge where I met Iggle Piggle, Upsy Daisy. Makka Pakka, The Tombliboos, The Olly Bolly Dob Dob Flower, the Ninky Nonk and the Pinky Ponk. At least there were a series of about 9 to choose from.
Then along comes Pippa, Miss 2. she absolutely adores ‘Spot’. ‘Spot Goes To The Farm’ ,’Spot Goes Shopping’ ‘Spot Goes to a Birthday Party’. Any mention of stories brings forth a request for Spot.
Spot for those who don’t know is a mischievous yellow puppy who delights children when he plays with his friends Helen the hippo, Tom the Crocodile, Steve the monkey and Tina the elephant.
What a co-incidence in Goggling the author Eric Hill this morning – I found that he passed away today aged 86.
Children’s books Eric said are based heavily on fabulous visuals. He said, “I wanted to acknowledge from the start that children have far more intelligence and style than many adults credit them with. I wanted children to experience, through my drawings, ideas which were just outside their experience yet were basic enough to be understood. In ‘Where’s Spot’ I thought it would be fun to draw a chair in a period style rather than a straightforward type .A grand piano instead of an upright – pink rather than brown. Tables with cabriole legs and other decorative details. All to broaden the visual scope that a book can bring a young mind.”
I think he did it perfectly RIP Eric Hill.
Soo working on that assumption…children are more intelligent and have more style… back to Pippa. Here we were Pippa, Amy and Grannie Di sitting on the bed ready for story time. I sent the girls off for 2 books each to read. I may add here Pippa can count.
Amy goes quietly, Pippa hops off the bed chanting ‘2 books, 2 books, 2 books’… Amy comes back with 2 (one of which is gi-normous, she is clever). Pippa struggles back with an armful.
In total concentration she just makes it to the bed and her Mum Sally arrives. ‘Let’s show Grannie Di how you can count, let’s spread them out.’ We did. Sally started with one… total silence, in fact the silence was deafening.
No amount of encouragement would entice Pippa to utter a word. Her lips were sealed as she stood head bent just enough so we could not see her eyes. I could hear her little mind saying “I am not going to fall for that…If I own up there are 5 books,,, I will only get 2. if I am quiet Grannie Di might just keep reading…
Don’t be fooled by the photo we already had 2 Spot books on the bed!
And yes.. I read them all…I always read them all. And next morning Pippa rocked up for a repeat on the lounge.
For now the memories for the girls are the characters in their books, later in life I hope they will reflect back to the closeness, the memories and wonders of being read to by their Grannie Di… and that may not happen until they have children.
The looping repetition in a child’s book, the love of repetition in childhood leads to the repetition of going back to reading at any stage of life… one where you feel entranced, your imagination is in full flight and you remember back…back to when you were read to as a child.
The phrase comes to mind They may not remember what you said,,, but they will remember how you made them feel.
What comes to mind when you think of reading a story? I would love to hear your thoughts.
From my heart to your heart Di xx