Every night growing up, feet pounded down the steps as three pajama-clad children raced for the living room. We piled around Mom on the big, green couch, expectantly peering over her shoulders. An almost reverent silence settled around us, waiting for her words -- "Chapter One." The ritual that had begun long before we could read would take place until we were too big to fit on the couch together.
My mother instilled in all of us a love of reading at an early age, spending hours reading aloud to us and trekking to the Bookmobile, our library on wheels, to fill our bushel basket. We read the good books -- Laura Ingalls Wilder and Ralph Moody and Beverly Cleary -- and the hard books -- Where the Red Fern Grows, The Yearling, and A Taste of Blackberries. We each enjoyed our own favorites as well, with my brother often lost in a Louis L'Amour and my sister and I spending afternoons in Avonlea with Anne. We also had an aunt who invested in our literary lives, mailing brown wrapped packages of soon-to-become favorites. She knew who loved horse books and which of us liked a princess story or needed a title on training the new puppy.
Just days ago, I walked in to the living room to find my three cuddled together, big brother reading aloud. It has been such a joy to share this gift of reading with my own children and to have them beg for "one more chapter," "one more story" or MyLinh's insistent, "book! book! book!" In this coming week, I hope to share some favorite books that might delight you and yours as well.