Monday, April 10, 2006

2367 Don't count on it

This poem was posted at Sherri's site; she used to be a children's librarian, and I've learned so much about "kiddie lit" reading her blog that I didn't know. I took no courses in children's literature when I was in library school, and as near as I can tell, I didn't even read what others my age did, nor did I read much to my kids that was popular and recommended in the 70s (I liked My Book House when I was growing up and that's also what I read to my kids.)

The Reading Mother

I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea,
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth,
“Blackbirds” stowed in the hold beneath.

I had a Mother who read me lays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.

I had a Mother who read me tales
Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness blent with his final breath.

I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings —
Stories that stir with an upward touch,
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be —
I had a Mother who read to me. - Strickland Gillilan

I've heard or seen this poem before--maybe on bookmarks, and I think I've remembered it because it doesn't reflect my own experience. My son doesn't read unless it is work related or concerns his hobby, and doesn't have a library card. My daughter has certain favorite authors, none of whom I've read, and she only buys books; I doubt if she has a library card. My husband uses the public library about once every two years. He read a book word-for-word recently, because one chapter was about him and his work. I go the the public library once or twice a week and to the OSU Libraries several times a month. I only read fiction if it is assigned in book club and there are several genres I've never tried nor do I want to. We all lived together, breathed the same air, and talked about the same things. If having a "reading mother" or wife made a bit of difference to my family, I haven't seen it.

My own theory is that you pop out of the womb with your learning style set to enjoy print on a page. Or not. If it brings you pleasure when something stimulates it, you'll continue to seek that experience. It can be thwarted or encouraged, but it can't be created. But reading aloud to children is always good for cuddle time even if they don't get much from the books, so keep that in mind.
From this site

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