Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A Good Book

Right now the class I am taking is a children's literature course in the library science department. I love it. I loved reading as a kid. I still love to read, though I don't do so as much as I'd like to. One of my assignments is to observe a children's story hour and then plan and execute one. This will be easy. Yesterday, for my observation, I returned to the elementary school Diana and Calypso went through and Isaac had 2 years at before we moved. It is a wonderful, tiny neighborhood school that now only goes to 2nd grade. All the staff know every single kid by name and there is such a wonderful sense of community there. I spent endless hours volunteering there when my kids attended and loved it. I did bunches of story hours.

I caught up with the librarian and other staff there and was welcomed back so warmly. The secretary offered me everyone's schedule and told me to go catch this one or that one before they have class because they will want to see me again. That made me feel just great.

In the library I did my observation and afterwards caught up with the librarian. There is a new brand new school in the district and we had both gone to help inventory and help set up the new library. Maybe it is a geeky trait peculiar to librarians and librarian wanna-bes but we both agreed that it was REALLY an exciting thing to get to see rows and rows of shelves of brand new, shiny library books. We both admitted having great difficulty doing mere inventory when we'd come across a book that seemed especially interesting. Running our hands up and down the spines, feeling the pages release to us as we parted them the first time, deeply inhaling the aroma of a virginal book......it's all so thrilling!

It made me think back to the first 'grown-up' book I selected and bought myself. I was 7. My family was on vacation at the New Jersey shore and we were going in and out the souvenir stores on the boardwalk. My brother and I had each been given an amount of money we could spend on whatever souvenir we wanted. Nothing in any of the shops caught me eye enough to make me want to part with the money. Then I saw a book store. I went in and saw shelves and tables crammed with books. My little heart quickened. I spent a very long time looking. I was a bit annoyed with a clerk who tried to direct me to picture books and informed him that I was a fine reader who could manage chapter books with no pictures. It was such a hard decision though. I was used to going to the library and borrowing books but now I got to pick one I could keep forever. I kept looking but something kept drawing me back to the biographies. I read blurb after blurb on cover after cover and finally one lept out at me......the true story of how Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller together showed the world a blind and deaf child could learn and succeed......I was hooked. I carried it happily to the counter and paid for it. I devoured it quickly and reread it several more times. I was so proud of my little book and I was so amazed by Helen and Anne. Ever since then I have been drawn to biographies. I went into special education, now I am considering becoming a librarian. Lots of other experiences have shaped me but I think about that one little book sometimes and how much impact it had. I think how wonderful it is to put a book in a kid's hands, one that makes their face light up, one that impacts them positively for a long time.

So, tell me about the first book you remember or one that still impacts you.

13 comments:

bsoholic said...

I think mine was "The Light In The Attic". How poems and such could be different and/or weird - sorta spoke out to me.

lime said...

oh bs, that is a great book! i love shel silverstein!

snavy said...

I have 3 - I'm very indecisive - lol!

When I was 8 or 9, I read the biography of Thomas Jefferson - that has always stuck with me. Then a couple years later, The Diary of Anne Franks - I could not put it down. In 7th grade and agin in 10th, Animal Farm - I got even more from it the second time.

I love books!!

lime said...

snavy, wonderful! D of AF is a really amazing book. i have to confess i never read animal farm....blushing

James Goodman said...

The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffery. It is the first book I remember getting really excited about.

lime said...

goody, yay! I can certainly see how fantasy literature has shaped you!

Sheri said...

Ok -this might seem lame but my favorite was Little House in the Big Woods - Laura Ingalls Wilder. I used to love to pretend I was her. Now, the thrill of reading those books to my own daughter and see her become so interested in Laura.... has brought me full circle.

Sheri said...

ichelle - I tried to find an email address for you to send you something. I saw that you were a certified special ed teacher and I am going thru some issues with my daughter now that I had a couple questions. Could you email me? Thank you!

lime said...

sheri, it is SUCH a wonderful thing when a favorite book of your childhood becomes a favorite of your child too!

barefoot_mistress said...

Um.......Cat in the Hat???? Hey! I cant help it, I loved that: not in a house, not with a mouse, not in a box, not with a fox stuff!!!
Not to mention the illustrations.....Dr Seuss was a tripper!!!

Masha said...

It was called Mandy, and it was about a girl who finds a secret cottage behind this wall, and she goes there every day and it becomes like her little home, and she would bring things to it and live there. It was such a cute book :)

lime said...

bare, Dr. Seuss rocks! I felt sad when my kids outgrew it.

masha, it sounds like a really sweet and charming story:)

Fortress Guinness said...

yes lime...the library worker agrees whole-heartedly...new books, hardly anything better....ahem...apart from...well, anyway...i'm currently reading 'Tietam Brown' by Mick Foley which i am loving...the 1st novel that i've read in ages...very John Irving and i recommend totally...xxx