I find that when my adult children come home for a visit they rummage through their childhood rooms looking for fun memorabilia. I had unloaded a box from the attic containing favorite childhood books in each of the boy’s (young men!) rooms. Behind each book is a story about the story. Peter picked up one book, Guinea Pig Far and Near by Kate Duke, an author who had visited his elementary school almost twenty years ago, written a little note to him on the inside cover and delivered a talk and illustration about her book. I remember how special he felt that day, clutching a book with illustrations just like the woman drew in front of him on her big easel. Mama Don’t Allow by was another of Pete’s favorites. As Pete read these books to his little boys, I passed by and found myself joining in the singing of “Mama Don’t Allow No Banjo Playin’ Around Here” just as I has for Peter when he was a little boy, eliciting giggles at my terrible rendition of the song I had never heard but was trying to follow on the page.
Find your old favorites. If they aren’t still around, visit your public library and bring your old friends home for a visit with your kids. Your connection with the books will be contagious with your child.