Say Hello To My Little Friends
Books People, I mean books!
My love for books started at an early age. I remember my parents reading bedtime stories to me at night as part of our bedtime routine. I grew up in the Eighties (cough, cough) and we didn’t have much, but we did have children’s books. Remarkably, I still have some of those books today, the ones I loved. Looking at the copyright on some of these books now, I get the sense that a lot of them might have been passed down. They are little treasures from my past. They remind me of simpler times and of hope. Of feeling safe and loved. Of discovering new worlds through words and pictures. Of precious times where I had the total attention of my parents.
Here is a list of some of my favorite books as a child. (How anyone can only choose a few is beyond me, but I'll give it a try!)
No. 1 - Little One-Eye, Two-Eyes and Three-Eyes -collected and retold by Veronica S. Hutchinson
This was one of my all time, absolute favorite stories to read at night. I don’t know where this book came from, if it belonged to one of my parents growing up or if it was one of my father’s many garage-sale finds. I devoured this story about a girl who had two eyes. Little Two-Eyes had two sisters, where one sister had one eye and the other sister had three eyes. Her mother and sisters were horrible to her, feeding her only scraps of food, jealous that she was just like other people. A wise woman came along and told her to say a rhyme to this goat and a table would appear with all the food she could ever want. Long story short, one of the sisters found out and there was a prince who rode by one day who took her away. In the end she ended up marrying a prince and living happily ever after. But the ending wasn’t what got me, it was that Little Two-Eyes just wanted to feel loved. You can find an updated version here.
No. 2 - The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
This was another of my all-time favorites. If you haven’t read it, it’s about this beautiful relationship between a boy and a tree as he grew up. The tree loved him so much that it basically gave all it had to give to the boy. I’ve always loved trees. This book spoke to my heart about a tree who had such unconditional love for this little boy. I had gifted my book from my childhood, but bought another one when my son came into our lives. We gifted that one too. (In the spirit of giving and all that!)
No. 3 - Gretchen’s World by Alice Hoffer
Another book I gifted to someone who’s very special to me, but found a listing of it on Amazon! This is a story of a little girl who needed some friends and was given advice from animals and sprites on how to make them. As a young girl I related to this story and the characters, but I absolutely loved the illustrations. They were so beautiful to me at the time that I wish I could share them here. The pictures alternated from color to black and white, and I adored the whimsical feel of the story. You can find this book here.
No. 4 - The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper.
This book is an all-time classic and a favorite of mine. I fell in love with this little engine who was willing to help another train get all the things to the little boys and girls that could want and need, from candy, to toys, to good food for their stomachs. The little engine was small and used for switching trains in the trainyard, but her willingness to help others and perseverance to overcome obstacles taught me some valuable lessons. I also loved the colorful illustrations in this one.
No. 5 - The Tale of Peter Rabbit – based on the Original Story by Beatrix Potter
Another classic, this one. Peter the Rabbit had a habit of sneaking into Mr. McGregor’s Garden and liked to eat some of his vegetables. Inevitably he was caught by Mr. McGregor and barely escaped with his life, to go home to his mom. I always thought Mr. McGregor was a tyrant. Now I realize he was probably just feeding his family too! (Not that I'm admitting anything, but this may have belonged to one of my brothers. Is it really stealing if its a book?)
No. 6 -Richard Scarry’s Great Big Mystery Book by Richard Scarry
Um, yeah. So us kids might have fought over this one, but the important thing is who ended up with it! This book has two stories in it. The Supermarket Mystery and The Great Pie Robbery. These stories highlight Sam and Dudley’s attempts at the solving mysteries of who was stealing food from the supermarket and who stole Ma Dog’s pies. If you’ve never sat down with a Richard Scarry book, I love the frenetic energy that carries through his stories.
No. 7 - The Poky Little Puppy (Little Golden Book) by Janette Sebring Lowery
This is one of many of the Little Golden Books I had as a child. It's one of the books that I remember fondly. This sweet puppy is poky, who digs holes under the fence and plays, and in the end goes without any strawberry shortcake for coming home too late. I don’t know where my copy of this book ended up, but my dad ended up gifting a collection of Little Golden Books to my son which had this story along with other classics. It was one of his favorites too!
I’m going to stop here, because I could literally go on. Needless to say, I have more books, but I also have a word count limit.
The beautiful thing was I passed this tradition down with my child. I feel incredibly nostalgic that I was able to share a little of the magic of my childhood with him. You see, nighttime was our time. After the short, allotted twelve weeks of maternity leave we are graciously given in the United States, I went back to work. As most moms can relate, this is way too short of a time to leave your tiny, little baby. But I am a survivor and I soldiered on so that I’d have the ability to feed that tiny baby and help put a roof over his head. So, I would come home at night and often it was after my husband had already put him to sleep. I’d sit next to his crib and soak up his baby goodness. And sometimes I would read quietly to him as he slept. I don’t believe there is too early of a time to start reading to your children.
I remember in Kinder, my son would bring home these little paper stories stapled together for practice reading. They were incredibly boring and simplistic. I mean, was this what our education system had graduated to? (I’m not a book snob. No, really, I swear.) So, I did what any self-respecting book lover would do. I let my child pick what he wanted to read. He loved comics. His favorite was the Plants vs. Zombies comic books. To this day we still have all of them.
And here’s the thing, part of me wanted to judge myself for my parenting strategy. This might seem like a weird book for a Kinder to First Grader, but he got into these books, about zombies. They kept him engaged and excited to read, which was a great help in signing off on his school reading log. And that he also loved the video games. (Here’s some unsolicited advice. Find what your child is interested in and offer up books that encourage that interest.) We continued this tradition until my son got old enough to tell me that I didn’t need to read to him at night anymore. I admit, I might have gone and cried that night after everyone was asleep.
Here’s some good news. You don’t have to have your own children to make a difference in how books enrich children’s lives. Before I had my son, I volunteered for an organization called SMART Reading. I would go once a week and read books to children who needed it, who perhaps couldn’t afford books at home or were behind in school developmentally. I was paired up with a child that I stayed with for a time. It was incredibly satisfying to connect and bond with these children over books. I learned the importance of reading to a child and the effects it can have on a child long term. I eventually moved out of the state of Oregon where the organization is, but to this day it’s one of my favorite charities, as well as others like it.
So it may not be a surprise that books are my jam. Books are my savior. Books were sometimes some of my best friends and greatest teachers growing up and even are to this day. Books opened up worlds, and new ideas, and different perspectives for my curious mind to grasp.
I am a devourer of books.
It’s no wonder that the love of writing followed. A huge part of me owes this passion to my bedtime stories. My bedtime stories and bedtime routine inspired me in countless ways, and I hope someday my son will continue this tradition if he so chooses to have his own children.
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed it and please Heart or Share - Tips Optional. For more of my works, click here.
© 2021 - A. N. Tipton
About the Creator
I am a Writer, a Lover of Books, a Mother & an Usui Reiki Master who loves to read & write & all things Universal. Words move me, inform me, inspire me.
Find me at Twitter: @iambeauty111
© 2023 A. N. Tipton
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