Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Reading is FUNdamental


OK, how badly am I dating myself with that title? For those of you who are still decades away from reading glasses, Reading is Fundamental, Inc. was established in 1966 in order to promote literacy in young children.
I am a big proponent of reading at any age.

I can still remember my father taking me to the library for the very first time and being allowed "just this once" to take out THREE BOOKS instead of the standard rule two (one of them was The Fire House Dog, another Dandelion.... can't recall the third - so much for needing three....)

I just bought Kayla a new book (pictured above) and I hear she LOVES it.
  • What were your favorite books growing up?
  • Do you remember getting your first library card?
  • What are your favorite books now? (this part is just a shameless effort good excuse to pad my own "to read" list...)
I will tell you that my favorite children's picture books to read as an ADULT are Cows Can't Fly by David Milgrim and No, David by David Shannon.

For older children I suggest Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh and From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg (I still find myself wanting to sleep in the period rooms and bathe in the fountain every time I visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art).

16 comments:

Baked Lecho Dodi said...

Chazairim ? This is why we cannot bring such books in the house.

tembow said...

From the Mixed Up Files was always (and still is) one of my favorite books. A few years ago my favorite book was The Phantom Tollbooth.

When I was little we used to go to the library every week and we each took out like TWENTY books. The whole Shabbos and every weeknite we'd read and read... Thooooose were the days!! :)

tembow said...

O and i forgot a biggie-
My favorite children's books are Frindle and School Story by Andrew Clements.
If you've never read them, you better get started NOW!

G6 said...

Ooooh yes Tembow - The Phantom Tollbooth!
Good one!
And what about The Westing Game?
We did that one as part of my 'read aloud a chapter a night' to the kids phase (a very successful and highly recommended project). I'd never read it before and it was AWESOME....

Ricki said...

what about the all time young children's favorite "Good Night Moon?

G6 said...

Ricki -
I was waiting for that one to get honorable mention.
I, along with probably half the mothers in this country, can still blindly recite it from cover to cover verbatim..... {grin}

Leora said...

Harriet the Spy was my favorite when I was in elementary school! My friends and I walked around with spy notebooks.

Loved Mixed Up Files, too. They took out the pool at the Met with the pennies and put in more tables for eating.

Loved Phantom Tollbooth. My middle son (6th grade) had to read it for school. Three cheers for being assigned a cool book!

Goodnight Moon was one of my mother's favorites when we were little.

I'm reading Only Yesterday by S.Y. Agnon. Read the latest edition of his short stories. I also recommend anything by Aharon Appelfeld.

And did you read Kaaterskill Falls by Allegra Goodman? Has stuff about the Breuer community. Which you may like or not.

efrex said...

The Lovely Wife(tm) and I have agreed to disagree about the merits of Goodnight Moon, which was not at all a treasured part of my childhood, and which I refuse to inflict upon my brood, not least because I don't pronounce "mush" to rhyme with "hush." (and don't get me started on "Goodnight nobody..." *grr*). I definitely recall From the Mixed up Files... and Phantom Tollbooth, but I think I discovered the latter when I was older than the intended audience... still lots of fun.

So many favorites growing up:
Pre-school days:Where the Wild Things Are, Hand, Hand, Finger, Thumb, lots of Golden Books and accompanying records, a pretty good smattering of Seuss (Cat in the Hat, Oh the Places You'll Go, Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are)

In elementary school: The Hardy Boys, My Side of the Mountain, Chronicles of Narnia, tons of forgettable young adult lit.

High school: lots of sci-fi/fantasy stuff: Piers Anthony, Terry Pratchett (whom I still devour), Isaac Asimov, Raymond Feist, James Blish's Star Trek episode adaptations (which I read long before I actually saw any of the episodes), and still more forgettable young adult lit. Richard Feynman's Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman and Jack Finney's Time and Again also were devoured and enjoyed.

Recent favorites: still reading Pratchett avidly, the Harry Potter series. More scholarly stuff (I have to get my intellectual pretensions in someplace, don't I?): the biographies of R' Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg (Shapiro), R' Hirsch (Klugman), R' Revel (Rakeffet-Rothkoff), and R' Yosef Breuer (Landesman).

Currently on the nightstand: Neil Stephenson's Quicksilver (gads, the man's talented but he needs an editor more than J.K Rowling did in the last three Harry Potter books), and Marc Shapiro's Saul Lieberman and the Orthodox. Somewhere next in the queue: Yael Unterman's biography of Nechama Leibowitz.

Stuff that I read to the kinderlach: just about everything by Susan Boynton, the "Sammy the Spider" series, Where the Wild Things Are (in both English and Hebrew: the latter is actually pretty good, although "Lehishtolel!" doesn't quite have the punch of "Let the wild rumpus start!" IMHO).

Stuff that I want to pick up: Tradition in an Age of Reform and Frankfurt on the Hudson.

Surprisingly, I don't think I got my first NYPL library card until I was in eighth or ninth grade. Once I did, though, I made up for it with a vengeance, checking out books from both Ft. Washington and Inwood branch libraries at a clip of 10 or more a week (my best friend* and I would bike down to the Inwood branch on Thursday evening before mishmar and check out a dozen or so books between us). Later on, the main branch of the NYPL would become a second home when I was looking stuff up for my science fair research in high school (yes I was a big honkin' nerd; if you haven't figured that out already...).

_________________________

*[now in Lakewood, but b"h still willing to admit this]

G6 said...

efrex -
You unwittingly mentioned one of my ALL TIME favorite books:
Time and Again, by Jack Finney
I beleive it was originally referred to me by cuzzin buzzin.
It's not a well known book.
You continue to surprise me.

efrex said...

C'mon, it's not that unknown; it was a bestselling work by a fairly popular author. I actually used a short story of his (from "3 by Finney") in a high school history paper on the "Flapper" image of women in the American 1920s (had that professor been my teacher in 5th grade, it's quite possible that I'd have been a history geek instead of a science geek. [*wipes forehead* whew! close one!]).

Hard to imagine, but there's also a musical theater adaptation(!) that's been in development for nearly 2 decades, and, as far as I know, never got past the off-Broadway stage.

Frayda said...

Don't worry. I rememeber RIF and I am 25 so you aren't dating yourself that much. I loved going to the library as a kid. My favorite books growing up were the American Girl series, Hardy Boys, and Babysitter's Little Sister. I also like Berenstain Bears. I don't remember my first library card but I do remember all the different libraries I went to. My father drove me and my siblings all over Brooklyn to new libraries. Now I like to read historical fiction like Philippa Gregory. BTW, I loved!!!!! From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. It is still a dream of mine to sleep in the period rooms and bathe in the fountain at the Met!!!!!!!

FBB said...

Time and Again is an incredible book, and I've passed it on to the next generation, my 15 year old just read it.

An amazing book, that just stays with you, is Khalid Husseini's 1,000 Splendid Suns. I didn't read the Kite Runner, but this one was just so fantastic.

I am not a fan of Good Night Moon. For kids I like everything by Emily Arnold McCully, and Kevin Henkes is one of my favorites (Julius and Chrysanthemum are particularly good). Also James Stevenson and Cynthia Rylant and Peggy Rathmann are great.

I cannot stand any Amelia Bedilla

G6 said...

FBB -
As for not being able to stand her, I'm sure Amelia Bedeliah would tell you to "pull up a chair then!" :P

tnspr569 said...

I miss having time to read and visit the library. I love my library back home - it's a gorgeous 4 story building that's spacious and beautifully and intelligently designed, with brand new books, an abundance of places to study, plenty of up to date computers, friendly librarians, and the resources of a university! They even have moving bookcases - touch a button and the bookcases move!!

Library heaven, I tell you...

Anonymous said...

Beezus and Ramona, The Girl with Silver Eyes, Encyclopedia Brown, Betsy books, the list goes on and on.

I think that kids' books (at least back then) are much better than the books I read now as an adult. Or maybe as a kid you are able to get lost in the fiction more easily?

ProfK said...

We were at the library every week at least once. Favorites for when I was younger--Make Way For Ducklings and the Heidi series, the Babar series and all the Oz books.

Currently reading "1000 Places to Go Before You Die."