"Snippet" -- a small piece or brief extract
Books, Books, and More Books (Part 3 of A blog series devoted to the incredible legacy my mother created.)
With humility and immeasurable gratitude, the fact that I was reading the dictionary at 4 and was reading above my level before I ever started school is a testament to Mama’s teaching, guidance, and provision. I am so sad that I don’t have actual memories of her sitting down “teaching me to read” -- or pictures of us reading together, but there were obviously lots of teaching moments. There was also provision of lots of reading material.
The Books of Childhood
The earliest books I remember were Little Golden Books, Rand McNally Books and Little Elf books. We had a plethora of these perfect-for-kids books. Every Christmas and birthday brought more, and sometimes, I even got them "just because". I had fairy tales, poems, Bible stories, animal books, nature books: Trees, Children’s Book of Poems, Prayers, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, The Night before Christmas, and tons more! I loved those books, and many of the ones that survived now grace my shelves as well. In Mama’s shopping times, she was always on the look-out for inexpensive books.
In 1969 and 1970, Mattel came out with Upsy Downsy land books and toys. I was in love! I had several of the books and toys, spent hours upon hours reading the story books, and still have several of these on my shelf as well! The bright colors and quirky characters were perfect for me and were either an indication of my uniqueness or an instigator of such :-)
Mama also signed up with Parents Magazine Press to receive books periodically and these became the staple of my childhood. My all-time favorite from this series was “Miss Suzy”. I’m sure Mama read it to me countless times. I have read it to myself, certainly, more times than I can count, later to my brother, then to my sister, later to my students, and most recently to Chandler and Kyrah, my niece and nephew. When I finished reading just the other night as they are 8 and 10, they both said, “I love Miss Suzy.” I said, “Me, too,” and oh, how I do!
There were other really fun books in that series -- Marigold Garden, The Monkey’s Whiskers, Donkey Donkey, and the Ice Cream Cone Coot. I am so thankful for Mama’s insight and how she nurtured early on my ability to read and my love for reading.
Before there was Google
Mama also made sure there were reference books in our home growing up. We always had a dictionary and later we got our set of World Book Encyclopedias. Oftentimes on a Sunday afternoon or at night during dinner, a question would come up that no one immediately knew a sure answer for, so before we could ask “Siri”, we asked World Book. We looked up oceans and sea creatures and biblical history and anatomy and physiology and all kinds of animal questions and plant questions -- and all the questions we go to Google now for we went to the World Book then. We used those encyclopedias for school projects and to answer questions and sometimes, yes, I even read them just because. . . . maybe that made me a little weird, but that's okay with me.
Books and Records
Before there were Books on Tape or Audible books or any of that, there were Peter Pan records and books on record. Mama made sure I had plenty of these as well. The favorite one that I remember was “The Wizard of Oz”. On the flip side, it had “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” and “We’re Off to See the Wizard” songs. I loved reading along with the records, and I have to believe that was part of the learning to read expressively. Mama provided excellent role models for reading beyond herself through the books on record!
A Legacy of Books
Mama was not much of a reader for the last really long time, but back in the day she loved reading and kept a small collection of books. As I got older, she began to allow me to read some of the books she had read and treasured. I have the 2 Victoria Holt books that she had held onto and her copy of Gone with the Wind, among others that she shared with me. Reading and loving books is a legacy and I am so very glad that she built that legacy!--
I've been a teacher of K-3 students for over 20 years; I'm also a writer of poems, short stories, devotionals and picture books. I'm wife to an amazing husband and mom to Sparkles the kitty. I love reading, writing, singing and listening to music. I enjoy nature, Bible study and spending time with friends and family!