Saturday, May 31, 2008

"Books may well be the only true magic." Alice Hoffman

Some of the best memories of my childhood come from the hours my sisters and I spent at the Staunton Public Library. My mom would take us every week and we would fill our bags with new word worlds to explore. The library was a hallowed place for me, and the librarians were some of the smartest people I could imagine because they knew how to get to any piece of information I could ever want. I became an avid reader. Even before Delaney was born I imagined sharing my love of reading with her. My baby shower for her was a book theme and the guests each brought their favorite childhood book to begin Delaney's own library. I can honestly say reading with her is my favorite thing we do together. Now Delaney is reading on her own. She no longer stumbles over words and the pleasure she gets from moving quickly and confidently from page to page is palpable.

This morning we made our weekly trek to the public library. Delaney has made fast friends with the librarian and takes her a piece of art each time we go. She is allowed to choose 10 books, half of which have to be non-fiction, and 2 magazines and 3 movies. I watched her today as she purposefully made her selections. Her non fiction choices included a book on what it's like to be an earthworm, a book on weather and a kids cookbook. (She is really interested in cooking lately.) She also chose an art book that takes you step by step through drawing insects. This is the first book she ran to open when we got home, and she drew on a huge piece of art paper an entire family of bugs. I love to see the fiction books she chooses because she is drawn to books with beautiful illustrations or photography. The title or theme of the fiction books seem secondary to the aesthetics. She is so excited to ask the librarian for help if she wants to find a book on a certain subject, even getting them through interlibrary loan if our library doesn't have them. Then she runs behind the counter to help scan the books and check them out. This will be her first summer taking part in the summer reading program, and she can hardly wait for the kick off next week.

One of the movies we picked together is Summer Magic, you know the old Disney movie with Hayley Mills? Dan is gone for the weekend in South Carolina, so we have plans to snuggle in the big bed and watch this movie tonight with popcorn. I think we both can't wait for bedtime! As Delaney grows I see more and more of myself in her. I love sharing the absolute joy that comes from learning and loving to read. I love sharing the wonderment of the library experience.

Thank you for the reflection of myself in my dear daughter, a reminder to allow for the possibilities each new day holds.

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