Perhaps an introduction is in order: I am the girl who couldn’t find enough books to read. This was tragic, because lost in a book was my favorite place to be!
My Life in Books
I live in Kingfield, Maine, way up in the Western Mountains, in a tiny town of 1,000 souls, and have done so for more than 26 years, about half of my lifetime. I have been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, far more so than anyone else I knew as a child. I am quite sure I am such a fanatical collector of books now because I ran out of things to read as a child. I started with reading and loving truly wonderful stories like Miss Hickory, The Borrowers, Stuart Little, Ginger Pye, Paddington, Freddy the Detective. These were dear and treasured friends of my childhood, and I still love (and reread) them. Dear friends too were the Ingalls family, Mr. James Herriott, all the C.W. Anderson/Walter Farley/Marguerite Henry horses and other animals, the canine heroes from Lassie Come-Home, from Albert Payson Terhune’s books, from Jim Kjelgaard’s stories. I measure my childhood by the finding of specific authors and series; once I found something, I tried to read every related title that I could obtain. Each new treasure was such a delight! I was in high school before I discovered the Lord of The Rings and Prydain; I read anything like it that I could find.
Books I Missed When I was Young
Yet, you see, I couldn’t get enough. I read many, many other things I do not now admire or collect, not because there were no more good books that I hadn’t read, but because I couldn’t get my hands on the good ones. I missed many great books that I have later enjoyed reading as an adult; some of the more notable ones are the All of a Kind Family quintet, the Anne of Green Gables series and the Betsy-Tacy books. I have also discovered many, many illustrators of children’s books that I did not know and love as a child: Kate Seredy, Trina Schart Hyman, and Tasha Tudor are among them. So, while we have given up much for the sake of home educating a family of 6 children, books aren’t one of them. To be able to afford house FULL of rich literature, I have highly refined my treasure hunting (oops, “book hunting”) skills over the past 30 years. Now that I’m preparing to open a lending library (and companion store to share my duplicates), I will finally get my books counted and catalogued. I have speculated often about how many thousands of books I have been blessed with, but right now those are only estimates.
What about you?
I guess I am just the girl who ran out of books, who wants to make sure my children never do the same. How about you? Have you always had enough to read?
This is the first book that I remember as my own. I was perhaps 4 years old, and my book had a label on the front with my name on it. How I loved to look at the illustrations in the story! How I loved to have it read to me!
I still have my copy of this beautiful book. I also have a newer, smaller version. I am afraid something was lost in the translation when this beautiful, over-sized Big Golden Book was later released as a Little Golden Book.
Parents, do not underestimate the power of reading aloud to children. Do not doubt the investment you are making will bring a bountiful return. Choose good, engaging, living books and your children will develop an appetite for rich, soul-filling stories.