Tuesday, August 16, 2011

For the Love of Reading

In August, we catch up on all the birthday presents we've neglected to give over the past several months. We are pretty bad at giving gifts on time, and I blame this on the fact that we are both youngest children. If I've missed your birthday, do let me know, I'll get something right to you!
Anyway, I bring this up because lately, in the face of all this gift-buying, we've been talking about buying books for the kids we love. I can't keep track of whatever is the latest thing for kids these days (I think we had some hits during the whole silly band phase but that didn't last long), and it feels like something personal to buy someone a book that I loved or that Scott loved at their age.
So we bought our 3-year-old neighbor a copy of Mike Mulligan's Steam Shovel (he is a truck lover), which is still in print! At a used/antique book store, Scott looked for Ribsy, and I poked around for The Diamond in the Window and The Swing in the Summerhouse (out of print, sadly, and expensive!). I loved these books and can still remember how it felt to read them. We bought Scott's niece a copy of A Wrinkle In Time, another book I adored. For my niece Nina, copies of The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel) and The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues by Ellen Raskin.
I don't even know if kids read real books anymore- do they? But what I do know is that my sister Nancy was instrumental in gifting me with a love of reading, and introducing me to some wonderful YA books, and I'm forever grateful to her for that. I do have one tiny beef to register, about the newer printings of these books- they put illustrations of the main characters on the covers. I see why they do it, but... I feel like there's a lot of value to letting the reader conjure up their own mental picture of Meg Wallace. Maybe that's just a curmudgeonly thing all my own, but seeing the illustrated cover of Ramona the Pest made me object: that's not what Ramona looks like!!!
It's been fun revisiting my YA friends. Such good memories of many many hours spent together! I hope our kid friends fall in love like we did, way back when.

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