Since last week I wrote about some of my favorite reading memories, this week we decided to share our friends’ and family’s reading memories. Receiving people’s responses has been a lot of fun, and, in keeping with last week’s blog, it seems that many people’s reading memories are also memories with family and friends. Please take a minute to read the memories below. What resonates with you? Do the memories sound similar to some of your own? Comment below and let us know or share a reading memory of your own!
1. James Miceli: My mom was an English major, and growing up, she always read to my sister and me. Particular favorites were the Little House on the Prairie memoirs, especially during the years we lived in the Midwest. We always wanted to hear more- the frontier adventures of Laura Ingalls Wilder always fascinated us and put us right to sleep, as a good family book will do.
2. Carrie Crum: When I was 4, I tried to teach my best friend to read. We sat down with Green Eggs and Ham, and he patiently went through the book page by page, sounding out the words under my tutelage. He then went on to read the entire thing from cover to cover. I was so excited I had taught him to read! Until I handed him another book and quickly discovered he just knew Green Eggs and Ham by heart and couldn’t read after all.
3. Niki Lynn Frazier: Some of my earliest memories are of my mother reading stories to me in her room. She kept a pressed four leaf clover tucked in to the pages of her copy of The Secret Garden. Although the book had very few illustrations, which at first seemed boring, I would curl up next to her in bed and listen, getting sucked into the story but all the while waiting to see that clover.
4. Bridget Galvin: The first novel I remember loving was Charlotte’s Web. I remember asking my dad what “manure” meant, although I pronounced it “manyure.” He told me it was pig poop…I couldn’t believe it! That book proceeded to break my 8 year old heart.
5. Eve Richards: I loved myths, especially Greek Myths and someone gave me a gift of the large (9 X 12) book of D’Aulaires Greek Myths which had these great colored pencil illustrations. My favorite was a family tree with Zeus at the top. Medusa was a close second. I would just get lost in those myths and read them again and again. Another thing I remember is my Dad making me sign a reading “contract” at the beginning of the summer so that he could basically force me to read because I had signed the contract. It wouldn’t have been that hard because I loved to read but one of the stipulations was that he got to choose a book for me (just one). He always picked the hardest books! I remember they were worth it in the end but they required a lot of thought, not like what I was choosing, which didn’t require much at all. One book was Black Elk Speaks, another was A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. Both amazing books but a far cry from Nancy Drew which was my book of choice.
6. Joanna Bopp-Yarnell: One of my most vivid memories of early reading when I truly devoured a story was a series recommended to me by an amazing friend, Marisa Keller Bailitz. The title of the starting book of the quartet is Alanna: The First Adventure written by Tamora Pierce. The main plot in this book is that a set of boy/girl twins, Alanna and Thom, are told they have to soon begin their lives in their respected trades learning the art of magic and the other becoming a knight. Of course, siblings always want what the other one has so they decide to switch places in their assigned destinies. Alanna soon realizes that this becomes exceedingly complicated and not only does her physical self betray their secret but, like so many of us growing up, she also discovers hardships and the cruel reality of betrayal from those thought to be friends. The biggest influence this reading experience had with me was witnessing such a strong character not just prove that she could do as good as her male peers, but going beyond any competition to really be herself. As a preteen girl then and a “grown-up” now, I really appreciate any example of someone, male or female, being able to live a life they forge for themselves successfully and unapologetically against the status quo. There a so very few opportunities to see those examples in other forms of media that it makes me so very grateful to have been encouraged by family and friends to be an avid reader.
7. Sarah Martyn Crowell: I do have a favorite memory, or general memory: my parents reading the Chronicles of Narnia to me before bed. I remember every night falling asleep as I pictured the various animals, children, and scenery. It was like my doorway into dreaming.
And enjoy the pictures of some our family and friends’ babies reading. Collecting the pictures may have been a little more fun than collecting the reading memories….but only a little.