Saturday, January 9, 2016

There's Nothing Like A Good Book

Ever since I was a little girl, reading has always been one of my very favorite pastimes.  I used to spend all my babysitting money on books, like Sweet Valley Twins and the Babysitters Club.   Sometimes, I would even get a flashlight and read under the covers if I was supposed to be in bed. I figure mom probably knew, but she was always glad I was so into reading.

When Grace was born, I could hardly wait to share my love of reading with her.  In fact, I read to her the very first day she came home from the hospital. We read a St. Louis Cardinals board book, that my Grandpa Phil gave to her.  

Grace and I reading Harry Potter together before bed.
And ever since then, reading has become a regular ritual at our house. Everything from our favorite Disney characters to Dr. Seuss and Pete the Cat, with a few pirate books in between. Most typically, we read just before naptime and just before bed.  

They are truly some of my favorite times, even if Grace is somewhat particular about her book selections.  Some of her very favorites are these Victoria Osteen books, like "Hooray for My Family." We have read them over and over again, and she always smiles as soon as we get it out.  My favorite part is that Grace still loves to be in charge of turning the pages.  

This has always been one of Grace's favorite books, and she loves to turn the pages.
When we were trying to come up with ideas for Grace this Christmas, one thing that stuck out was a new illustrated version of the first Harry Potter book.  Initially, I thought the entire series had been illustrated, but I only managed to find the first volume, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." Grace smiled when she opened it under the tree.

I was living in London when the Harry Potter series was rising in popularity, and I have always enjoyed the stories.  I was so excited about the idea of sharing some of my favorite characters with Grace.  I know she probably won't understand what I'm reading to her, but I make sure to show her all the pictures in the new book, and talk about it.

Reading to Grace on her first day home from the hospital. The books were as big as she was!
We started reading just after Christmas, and have just finished the first chapter. It will probably take us awhile to finish, as I try to stop in time to read some of her favorite stories too. We always end with "All the Ways I Love You" and then a good night kiss.

This actually isn't the first chapter book we have read together. Over the summer, she got the American Girl doll, Grace, which came with a book.  It was much shorter than the Harry Potter book, but we made it through it together.  Some nights, she got mad because she wanted me to read other books, but we have always enjoyed our reading time together.  She also got two new American Girl doll books about Grace for Christmas, so we will definitely have our work cut out for us in getting our books read this year.  

Since Pete the Cat is a family favorite, Grace and I got shirts for Christmas!
Since we love reading so much, this year I'm going to write my newspaper columns on "Life Lessons" from our favorite storybook characters. The first one will be about Pete the Cat, and I will pick different characters each month and share some of our favorite stories. You won't want to miss any of them!

Sometimes it's hard for me not to be able to pass down some of my favorite childhood memories to Grace. But reading is something that we will always be able to share together, and I know these are special times that we will both remember.


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