We left the library last week as Lydia danced out with her four Olivia books exclaiming, “Momma, I love the li-berry!” I couldn’t help but smile, grateful she loves books as much as her momma (and her daddy too). This thrills me because within the spine of a well-written book lies an adventure to behold and an invitation to dream. Children’s books are among my favorites and there are some I read over and over again on my own… classics like Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, Charlotte’s Web and the poetry of Shel Silverstein. I love being able to share these classics with my girls as well. We read Charlotte’s Web to our own Charlotte many nights before we put her in her crib. The last paragraph gets me every time…
Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. Although he loved her children and grandchildren dearly, none of the new spiders ever quite took her place in his heart. She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is both a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.
This summer I’m reading The Secret Garden to Lydia before nap time, just a few pages at a time. It seems the perfect book to start this time of year. I remember my grandmother giving me a copy of The Secret Garden one summer when I was just a few years older than Lydia. I would read it while sitting on her porch swing overlooking her hydrangeas and blueberry bushes. And then I would pretend her garden was my own secret hideaway, concocting mud pies after a rain storm and marking turtles with a dot of fingernail polish so we knew who was who. Magical memories I carry to this day.
I hope to give my girls the opportunity to create their own secret gardens, a place to let their dreams soar where the stars seem mysteriously close and dew sparkles on the ground. A good book can open the door to such adventures.
Books are my favorite gifts to give and to receive. A few favorites I haven’t mentioned already…
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein- I mentioned Silverstein earlier, and he’s a favorite of mine. Every year for Lydia’s birthday, I choose a book and we have everyone at her party write her a message. I love to look back and read the special messages as we read the book together. This is the book I chose for her 3rd birthday (which is less than two weeks away!).
Pig Kahuna by Jennifer Sattler- This was Lydia’s birthday book last year, and it is delightful. It talks about facing your fears (a lesson I need to hear repeatedly as well). The illustrations are gorgeous and you’ll love Fergus & Dink.
Just Being Audrey by Margaret Cardillo- I love, love biographies and this one is illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators, Julia Denos. This tells the story of Audrey Hepburn and shares the lesson about not being afraid to be yourself.
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams- Another classic. This was another one I read over and over again with my grandmother.
If You Give a Pig a Party by Laura Numeroff- We have every. single. book. in this series because Lydia love, love, loves them and Matt and I do too. You would think Lyd could read them because she has memorized every word. These make great gifts and they are wonderful for very young kids as well.
Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney- We were introduced to this series by Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (Imagination Library is an amazing resource for TN residents, but I believe it now extends into other states as well. Go to Imagination Library to find out more.) These are fun to read with great illustrations. Fuzzy Llama is our favorite 🙂
Those are just a few of our favorites. I am always on the lookout for new children’s books, and I would love to hear your favorites. Please share!
*That picture of Lydia was taken when she was 18 months old. Seems like yesterday…