Someone posted this question on Facebook a couple days ago: “What was the first book that really got you hooked on reading?”
I’ve been thinking about this, and it’s an interesting process. I learned to read when I was about three years-old from the words embroidered on my bath towel: “Your bath is ready, Nancy.” And the first books I remember were the Dick and Jane primers – you know, “See Spot run,” and so on. I was given several of those and I had my own little bookshelf in the basement of our small house, and I was so proud of going down there, pulling out a book, and actually reading it for myself.
But I don’t think it was really Dick and Jane that inspired me. My dad read to me every night when I went to bed. As I grew a little older, I hid away a flashlight and read under the covers until I fell asleep. I’m pretty sure my parents knew what was happening, as often one of them would come to my room and ask me to turn off the light and go to sleep! I don’t remember all the books I read like that, but I do know that I always had books at the ready.
This summer my husband and I visited the Golden Spike National Monument in Utah. I remember a book I loved that told the story of the railroads meeting and the great connection that was made between west and east. I’ve been trying to find out the name of that book from the early 1950’s to see if it will still hold the same wonder and interest it did for me when I was very young. I haven’t found it yet, but the story was as lively for me this summer when we saw the exact location of the railroad connection as it was for me when I read the story in that book so many years ago.
That’s the wonder of reading, isn’t it? We are drawn into places and plots of which we could only dream, and the stories carry us on into new paths of adventure. I am so grateful for my reading parents and everything they gave me through simply being themselves and sharing that with their daughter. As school gets started again, I hope that all the new readers will find as much joy in word and plot and character as I have had for 67 years.