Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Starting Early...on a Love of Books

There was a minor Book Club kerfuffle in our house this morning, not with my book club of 12 years, but with my kid’s. It seems their elementary school has instituted an after-school book club, divided by grade, meeting once per week (an awesome idea!).

My 1st grade son got an “invitation” to join the club in his take-home folder yesterday. My 3rd grade daughter did not. Oh, the humanity!!! The letter made clear that kids were selected by their homeroom teachers to participate, and then it's up to them whether or not they wish to do so. When I asked my son, he gave a casual shoulder shrug. “Sure,” he said. (He’s been cultivating a cool-kid image that means he can’t get overly excited about most things, though he loves to read just as much as his sister.)

Meanwhile, his sister was beside herself wondering why, oh why, she didn’t get an invitation. Does she not read books for hours each day? Does she not talk incessantly about books (and many other things) to the point of wearing out her poor mother’s eardrums?

An email inquiry revealed all: her invitation is in tonight’s take-home folder. Crisis averted.

Now as I sit in this quiet house, getting ready to work on revisions to my novel, I’m feeling very warm and fuzzy, thinking about that passion erupting, all over the opportunity to talk about books. I don’t think our kids’ love of all things literary is an accident. My husband and I both love to read. There are books on every flat surface of our house. Given a moment of downtime, we usually have one in our hands. When the kids want us to read to them, the answer is yes. (When they were in the womb, I'd often read aloud, not kids books, just anything. I thought they might be lonely in there;) When they want to buy books, the answer is almost always yes.

Yet neither my husband nor I came from bookish families. Aside from a set of encyclopedias, there were less than a dozen books in my entire childhood home. They sat on a shelf next to our fireplace, and I can still picture their spines, if not their titles. One was a nonfiction book about Canadian Geese. One was a 1950s era book for women on dieting and beauty. There was a farming memoir, and a 1970s book of Guinness World records. I recently found the Guinness book in my parents’ basement and brought it home. I recognized nearly every picture, though I hadn’t looked through it in 30 years. It’s just that, as a kid, I'd looked through it so often, having few other options.
This is our living room coffee table/library cart my dad made
out of a wooden electrical cable spool. He added dowels
and casters, and I gave it a shabby-chic paint job.

Fast forward to last week, when I had to sit my daughter down and explain that she was bringing too many books home. Able to select from a wide variety in her classroom, she was lugging home way more than she could read in a week, or even a month, and her backpack was crazy heavy. I suggested she stick to two or three at a time, but she wasn’t able to choose. 

“I love all of them!” she wailed. What could I say? I know, I know… 


  1. Love that coffee table/book carousel!

    It's really nice to see the love of reading carry on into the next generation. We read to our kids, too, and it was always one of the most fun parts of the day for me.

    1. Thanks, Jeff. I still read to the kids most nights, even though they can both read on their own now. And that coffee table was a fun project. The hardest part was finding a cable spool the right size!