One of the things I love most about being a mom is spending time with my children reading to them. To foster their love of reading is amazing. If I catch either of my boys with a book in their hands, I sit back and watch them as they look at the pictures, turn the pages, and get lost in the story. I'm an avid reader myself, a lover of books, and it brings me great joy to read to my children - it's one of the most important things you can do as a parent.
My home looks like a library because I buy books all the time. I think a house filled with books makes it a 'home'. I love knowing that my son's bookcases are filled with all kinds of books. And it's money well spent, too. Sure, we do frequent the library, but I love to own the books we love. Books are something that will never lose value.
There are a few books that are truly special to me, books I can barely read to my boys because I always end up crying and having to wipe away my tears.
The books that I hope my children will enjoy reading when they're older, when they can fully grasp the meaning behind them, and when they have their own children, are:
The Giving Tree
Love You Forever
Someday is a book by Alison McGhee. I first saw this book in the bookstore over a year ago, and I picked it up and started to read it. I instantly started to cry. I put the book down. Every time I was in the bookstore, I'd pick it up, read it again, and cry. I finally bought the book. I was torn, though - I didn't know if I should buy two copies or just one because I want my children to take this book when they're older to pass it on to their children, too. If you haven't read this book yet, I highly recommend it. I am warning you, though - you will have tears streaking down your face, so make sure to have a few tissues handy!
An excerpt from Someday:
"One day, I counted your fingers and kissed each one.
One day, the first snowflakes fell, and I held you up and watched them melt on your baby skin.
One day, we crossed the street and you held my hand tight. Then, you were my baby, and now you are my child. Sometimes when you sleep, I watch you dream, and I dream, too."
And it keeps getting better. It's the most beautiful book I've ever read. The author perfectly captured with words and emotion how a mother feels about her child. It's a book to cherish.
During an interview with the author, Alison McGhee said: "...once you have a baby, you're filled with that overwhelming love. And you're also filled with fear all the time, because you love something so much. And maybe it was a way for me to understand what John Keats' called negative capability - that ability to hold contradictory thoughts in your mind simultaneously. You know, I love this child more than anything and I want to keep this child safe. In order to keep this child safe, this child needs the strength to go live her own life fearlessly."
Well said, wouldn't you agree? It is a book that will pull on your heart strings, but perhaps not a book to read to very young children.
The book The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is a classic. I remember reading this book when I was young, probably in grade 4 or 5. My son received this book for his birthday last year, and I recently started reading it to him. The Giving Tree is about a little boy and his relationship with a tree. A tree that for years provides him with a place to sit, apples to eat, branches to swing from, and more. As the boy gets older, he needs the tree less... and as the boy gets older, so does the tree, until the tree feels he can offer nothing more to the boy. This book shows how life goes from being innocent and easy to more challenging and hard. It's a truly touching book, one that everyone should own because it tells a beautiful story with a beautiful message.
Of course, if you're a mom, you probably already own Love You Forever. I bought this for my oldest son for his first Christmas, and I have a hard time reading it without getting teary. You probably know this off by heart:
"I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
as long as I'm living
my baby you'll be."
My 4 year old likes me reading this book to him now. He especially likes the part when the little boys make a big mess in the bathroom... because it's something he can totally relate to!
These are the three books I think everyone should have in their home 'library', because these books are beautifully written stories and classics that can be enjoyed for years to come.
Do you have a special book you will always cherish or a book you love sharing with your child?