When my oldest daughter was a baby, and I was bored being at home all of the time, we used to go to the thrift store and look at books to pass the time. And we’d buy them. Who am I kidding? I wasn’t just looking. I was buying. I’d put my little daughter in a shopping cart and she’d eat Cheerios, constantly dropping them on the floor while I scoured the used books.
Often, I would purchase children’s chapter books. I imagined my chubby baby as an older school girl who would find delight in the same books I had found delightful. Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby, Number the Stars, Anastasia, Roald Dahl, Louis Sachar, and Nancy Drew. I bought here and there, but not too many. I didn’t realize the day would come so quickly that she would read them.
Now she is 11 and she loves to read. She’s gone through almost all of the books I bought during her babyhood. There aren’t enough! I feel as if I need to get more, although our local library trips fill in the gaps. Here’s a photo of those books on my shelf. They are waiting now for my second daughter to grow up a little. I can’t believe the time I imagined for their use has almost past.
Reblogged this on perfectlyfadeddelusions.
Emily, you gave the greatest gift. The gift of reading. In our attic, we saved the kids books we wanted to keep for future grandchildren, donating others. We have a Dr. Seuss collection, a Little Golden Book collection, etc. I treasured reading to my kids. All the best, Keith
I love reading with my kids too. What a great idea to save some for the grandchildren! Your collection sounds great.
This is inspiring. I’m a teenager now but I plan to do such a list of books, movies and music for when my child/children are too young to choose themselves. It’s a proof of real mother-child love.
How cool that you are already planning to do this. Let me know how it turns out in the years to come!
It is shocking how quickly time passes and I am trying very hard to savour every moment with my 3 year old son. We too make trips to the second hand book store and I find that I often buy books that he is only likely to read some years later. But how can one resist a good deal??!! 🙂 For example, I recently found a lovely hard bound 3 in 1 edition of Enid Blyton’s The Enchanted Wood, The Magic Faraway Tree and The Folk of the Faraway Tree, for the equivalent of less than 2 USD!
Wow! What a great deal. It is hard to resist when you know they’ll enjoy the books so much as they get older. It sounds like you are living well!
If you think it’s shocking how time passes, wait until you’re a grandma. I’m glad people are still reading Enid Blyton to their children. I still love the faraway tree stories.
Those are fun stories!
How wonderful that your daughter likes the books you loved as a child. I wonder what my little boy will think about my favorites – I know it might different because he’s a boy, but I hope he enjoys some of them too! He’s four and he loves to read, which delights me to no end.
That is wonderful. It will be fun to see what he likes as he gets a little older and more independent. 🙂
I have early readers and best of all eager readers. I also attribute this to my reading with them when they were babies. Good work!
Thank you! And yes, read to babies! It must be done.
I did exactly the same thing! In fact, I started collecting picture books before I even had kids (at the time I was working as an Early Childhood Educator (fancy for working at a daycare)), and we got a discount on book orders every month. Then, once I had kids, I took them to the local used book store and they would sit on the floor flipping through books (they were too young to read them) while I scoured the shelves. I had a tonne before they ever needed them. But, like you, I am shocked by the fact that most of those picture books have either been given away or stored in the basement (because I just can’t part with them all), and they are getting too old for many of the chapter books I bought. I’m pretty sure they didn’t even read them all – I think they outgrew them faster than they could read them all! My youngest is now 10, and she likes to read but is a picky reader. I keep trying to press certain books on her, but it rarely works. 🙂
Yeah, pressing books on them doesn’t work too well. I’ve gotten my daughter to read a few by reading them aloud to her, but that’s not always successful. I love that you had books for your kids before they were even born. Awesome!
Check out reviews of Transfixion, which was inspired by my daughter.
Thanks for sharing.
American girl books? I used to LOVE those. I had the Samantha doll haha.
Yes! Those are actually from when I was a girl. I had Molly and Felicity!
My best friends had them! I had all of the books though. They were so fun. I still have my doll for eventually when/if I have a daughter! It’s so sweet that you did this for yours.
I think it is in the book Freakonomics that says the #1 determinant in how well a child does in school is how many books are in the house they live in (regardless of whether their parents read to them!). When our daughter was born this year, my wife and I made a deal that we could not buy a book for ourselves without buying her one two. So we now have an overflowing shelf, mostly of Puffin Classics, waiting for her to grow into.
I hadn’t heard that. How cool. It sounds like your daughter is off to a great start!
This is so lovely. There’s an odd magic to putting books away for the right time and person. I’ve worked in the book industry for the past 4 years and over that time, have begun a small shelf of books I would love to read with my future children someday. It freaks some people out that I’m collecting for non-existent kids, but even if they never arrive, I will gift the books to someone else’s children. I just love the idea of someday reading with my own kids, or watching my fiance read to them, just like I was read to as a kid. Love it :).
I think it’s great for you to be planning ahead! And you are right: if there are no future children, you can give them to others. Some of the best children’s books we have at my house are from my sisters, who don’t have their own kids.
This post made me so happy and sad too. My little girl is just a 1 1/2 old and I have started collecting chapter books for her when she gets older. We just bought the entire collection of Roald Dahl. My husband and I have already started reading them to her since we loved them so much growing up we just couldn’t wait. I know the day when she is old enough to read them is going to come up way to quickly (hence the sad part, kids grow too fast). Anyways loved your post!
Thank you. It sounds like your little girl has great parents! I love Roald Dahl too. My daughter has enjoyed some of his books the most. There was a time when she was in second grade that she read and reread The Twits over and over again. !
Oh the Twits, soon good! 🙂
I was just thinking the other day how quickly childhood (and time in general) passes. I can remember when I was 11 or 12, longing to grow up and be a ‘big girl’. Now I’m in my 20s — an adult with a job, a car, etc.
When I was your elder daughter’s age, some of my favourite books were Little Women (and its sequels) and the Little House on the Prairie books. I was also a big fan of books about ponies and horse-riding — I was lucky enough to have my own horse and I loved reading about riding. 🙂
Oh wow. You were one of those kids with an actual “pony.” 🙂 My daughter and I have started reading Little Women together. It is slow going, but so far she’s enjoying it. It IS amazing how time passes so quickly.
Yes, I grew up in a very rural area where horse riding was common, and there was plenty of space to keep a pony.
Emily, my mother and older brother shared their love of reading with me when I was little (my sisters in the middle weren’t so keen). It is such a life-giving thing to do. I felt a real warm buzz to read your post about sharing your passion and proficiency with the written word with your own daughters. You are an inspiration! 🙂
Simon, you always make me feel so good about myself with your generous comments! I want you to know that you are an inspiration too. I love hearing from you and following your blog.
I am guilty of the same book-thrifting shenanigans. As I have a son, I’ve had to alter my choices a bit from my nostalgic girl-reads of yore, but there are some overlaps–the Narnia series has been a pleaser. So much fun sharing books together!
How fun. I’m would suggest reading him some of those “girl reads” anyway. He might like them!
Reading is great with kids, and adults! I find it’s so funny as an adult, but you can even find basic life lessons we seem to overpass in children’s books to bring us back down to earth.
So true! I think I’m enjoying rereading a lot of the books with my daughter and noticing those lessons I didn’t quite catch the first time around. 🙂