The Power of Children's Books

Posted In: Youth and Families, Reviews
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By Meredith Veatch

I read a lot. It’s not too surprising given my profession. Usually I’m reading two or three books at the same time. So it’s also not too surprising that I often forget almost everything about a book within a month or two of reading it. On the other hand, I vividly remember books from my childhood, whether they were chapter books that I picked out on my own, or picture books my mom read to me before my afternoon nap, when I was still lucky enough to get one.  When I decided to become a librarian, it was these wonderful childhood memories that made me want to work with children. Here are a few of my childhood favorites and the reasons they’ve stuck with me for so long.

Little HouseLittle House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Every Sunday night when I was growing up, my dad would read out loud to the family for an hour or two before bed. This is the first book I remember him reading. During those evening hours, I learned about the importance of family, not just from Laura’s family, but also my own.

Always Room for One More by Sorche Nic Leodhas
This award winning picture book taught me about generosity and working together. I’m pretty sure it also kick-started my fascination with Scottish accents, since it’s almost impossible to read this book out loud without stumbling into some approximation (however terrible) of a Scottish accent.

Garth Pig and the Ice Cream Lady by Mary Rayner
This book, which features a wolf in ice cream lady’s clothing, did more to make me wary of strangers than any talk of stranger danger. To this day, I’m nervous about ice cream trucks. Plus, it’s just really funny.

Bread and Jam for FrancesBread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban
People who know me really well will question whether I learned anything from this book at all. But honestly, this book taught me to try new things and not be such a picky eater. To tell the truth, I’m still a picky eater, but I have certainly tried foods over the years after thinking about Frances that I wouldn’t have otherwise given a chance.

What about you? Are there any books that you particularly remember from your childhood? If you have your own children, are there any books that you always read to them?

I love your list! One that I remember from my childhood that my kids now read and love is Caps For Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina (and how great is that name, btw?).
Posted by: Chelsea at 6/8/2012 3:07 p.m.

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