Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy National Children's Book Week!

Judging from the number of recyclable bags of books we shlep to and fro the library each week, you'd think that every week is National Children's Book Week here in the Betty and Boo household.

I mean, seriously - as I type, there are 82 books checked out on my card and 87 books checked out on Betty's. (Boo doesn't have a library card yet; I keep asking him if he'd like his own, but he always says we can do it another time.) And, like their mother, they also own piles of books too.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Before they were born, I started buying books for my kids. I was committed to having books around from the get-go, as well as reading to them. I don't remember reading to them in the NICU, but I do remember telling these four and five pound babies all kinds of stories. We told them about astronauts, about the denizens of our family tree (full disclosure about what they were getting into and all that), about beetles and Beatles, about President Millard Fillmore. (Yes, The Dean really did talk to the twins in the NICU about Millard Fillmore and President Chester Arthur. Don't even ask ... that's a whole 'nother blog post.)

All this to say that we are big fans of children's books in this house. As if you didn't know that already. Duh.
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On Friday, Boo's teacher invited parents to visit the classroom for Read and Relax Day. She does this once a year with her students, where parents come in from 1:00 - 2:15 and read with their kids. I didn't think I would be able to make it due to some work obligations, and I was genuinely disappointed to miss this. (One of those days laden with the mommy guilt, on the eve of Mother's Day weekend, no less!)

As it turned out, a lightning strike to our house on Thursday knocked out the motor to the electric garage door, our entire wireless system, the cable service, our landline phone, and partial electric. (Fortunately we and the house are completely fine, but we now have a new mantra: surge protectors.) Restoring the essentials of life our house proved to be a bit time-consuming, so while waiting for the repairs to be done, I went down the street and joined Boo and his classmates and a handful of other parental units for 75 minutes of reading time.

It was wonderful. Boo and I sat on the colorful carpet and read together, choosing book after book from the dozens of baskets filled to overflowing that Boo's teacher had placed all over the room. Several parents brought children's books from home and read aloud to the class. These are the ones I brought with me as potential read-alouds, in case I was selected as a parent reader. (I wasn't, but that's no big deal.)

(One of the other moms brought in Jamie Lee Curtis' I'm Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem too, so that was kind of cool.)

At one point, Boo wanted to read by himself (but with me by his side, just like we do each evening). I took a short story collection out of my purse, sat down at his table, and started reading. Almost immediately came the question.

"What are you reading, Mommy?"

I showed him the book which was, ironically, You Won't Remember This, by Kate Blackwell.

"You won't remember this?" he asked, quizzically.

Oh, but I will, Boo. You can bet I most certainly will. And hopefully so will you.

Happy Children's Book Week, everybody. This week (or any week), find a kid to read to or just spend a few minutes in your favorite bookstore or library rediscovering some of your favorites from when you were a kid. (Oh, and I'm interested to know: if you had to read to a group of first graders, what book or books would you have chosen to bring?)


Priya said...

87 books! And I thought 26 was a lot! You and your kids definitely read A LOT.


Betty and Boo's Mommy said...

I should have clarified that the majority of my 87 books are children's books (about a dozen total might be for me and my husband)... and that we rarely get to half of them before we've exhausted our renewals. :)