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Monday, November 13, 2006

Childhood Books

When I was much younger, Sunday afternoons meant a trip to National Bookstore with my dad. Together we would spend the afternoon reading books and magazines. We would literally spend hours crouched along the aisles browsing through page after page. At the end of the day, we would each get to choose a book to take home, to last us till our next bookstore expedition.

Those used to be such simple times. But they were times I truly looked forward to. Back then, they made my weekends complete. I strongly believe that it was those Sunday afternoons in National that forged my love for the written word, that paved the way for my overly active imagination, and that developed my appreciation for literature.

My dad was a big believer in books. He would strongly encourage our love for reading by allowing us to buy an unlimited number of books. We didn’t always get every toy we wanted nor did we get to buy all the outfits we thought looked great. But when it came to books – well the sky was the limit.

Through the years, my dad bought me a lot of books. Some of my very favorite books when I was younger include Louisa Mae Alcott’s Little Women. That book has gotten me thru some very tough times. Reading about the March sisters just reminds me of a simpler life and of the things that really matter – things like family, and traditions, and being there for each other. I always thought my sisters and I were very much like the March sisters. I was the Josephine March of my family – headstrong, willful, and ambitious. My sister Jenny was Beth March – kind, caring, and always there for us. Joy was little Amy March – carefree, high-spirited, and full of life. And my mom was a shoe-in for Marmee – the glue that binds us all together.

I also loved all those Ramona Quimby books by Beverly Cleary. I was a huge Judy Blume fan too. I grew up with Fudge and Peter and Sheila the Great. All my copies were were dog-eared from being read too many times. I loved “Are You There God, It’sMe Margaret” and “Blubber”. I loved the Berenstein Bears and Winnie the Pooh. I even enjoyed the Bunnicula series so much that today that’s one of my nicknames for my hubby. I adored the Nancy Drew and the Bobsey Twins series just as much as I enjoyed reading my dad’s old copies of The Hardy Boys.

I had a copy of Black Beauty, and a copy of The Little Prince, and one of Charlotte’s Web. I read my share of fairy tales and bible stories for kids. I had a copy of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and a copy of Robin Hood and his band of merry men. And when I daydreamed about those stories, I was always Arthur or Lancelot or even Robin – but never Guinevere nor Maid Marian. I went thru my brother’s collection of Choose Your Own Adventure books and his Asterix and Obelix comic books. I went thru a Sweet Valley High and Sweet Dreams pocket books phase too.

I wasn’t limited to fiction books either. I had this one book on the Seven Wonders of the World that I spent many hours pouring over. I read our Children’s Encyclopedia series and our Childcraft series over and over. I even read books on Countries of the World and would challenge my brother to quiz me on naming countries and their capitals. (I was a little strange in my childhood, I guess).

I can’t believe that I remember so many of those titles even if it’s been close to twenty or so years since I’ve seen or even read most of them. But they were such a special time in my childhood that just the memory of reading them makes me smile. Very belatedly, I thank my dad for instilling in me the love of reading. It is definitely one thing that I will pass on to my kids some day. I can’t wait to sit my kids down and introduce them to the wonderful characters of my childhood. I can’t wait for their faces to light up and for them to get as excited as I did. I can’t wait to hear them ask me to read them a story. I think it is moments like these that will make up having to change poopy diapers and deal with temper tantrums. :)


jol said...

Your narration of our book bonding makes me teary eyed as I am filled with memories of good old days gone by. It is a pity that I did not read you bedtime stories when you were young. Just imaginative stories of Tarzan and Watari and all their misadventures. Am very proud to hear you say I influenced you a great deal in your love of books. Do consider this one of my outstanding achievement.

watari said...

Its simply just incredible what you can learn through reading. The internet effectively puts the library wherever you are with your laptop. I plan to encourage all my children to read too.

marc said...

I agree that nothing is better than having the love of reading. I remember having an english teacher in 5th grade where they grew up not having a television at home. This gave them a chance to read more and more. And boy was that teacher good with comprehension/vocabulary skills!

I really think that it's a great asset to have. =)