My fascination with books started early; in the summers of the 70’s, I would look forward to the bi-weekly visits of the Bookmobile to my tiny Wisconsin town. I guess it was literary outreach for the distant corners of the county with no library branches. (Do bookmobiles even still exist?)
This beloved bookmobile would park in the bank parking lot a short walk from my house. I can picture the inside of that Rolling Bus of Books as clearly as any other memory of my childhood. In retrospect, it is amazing how many pounds of books a 57 lb. girl could carry home by herself. The titles themselves aren’t as clear in my memory; I read so many books, back to back, that they eventually became onelongsummerstory.
It is possible that I should have spent more time playing outside with real people.
Fast forward to another century, and my fascination for children’s books has not faded. Before my kids were born, I was collecting books for read-alouds and looking-throughs. Books that had received the Caldecott Medal for Illustration always seemed like a good place to start. Then started the early readers and beginning chapter books. Soon, I was collecting Newbery Medal winners and Newbery Honor Books. Oh, the world of YA novels! There is a great list of award winning titles here, including 1922-present. Of course, sometimes I will pick out children’s books simply because the title, or the cover art, or the subject will jump to be chosen. Many of our most-thumbed copies have no award other than “Our Favorites”. There are so many organizations that recognize talented children’s book authors and illustrators; peruse this list to see many more. Buy books for kids!
My kid book library is now quite extensive. I am so lucky and proud to have voracious readers of my own. As they grow older, it is still a joy to share books with them, albeit in a new way (they read the book first, then recommend it to me). Someday we will have to decide which books they want to keep for their own libraries, and which ones we will donate. Or, maybe, I could be the little old lady driving my own bookmobile…?