Author Meet and Greets

During Children’s Book Week, we asked people to share a list of the Top 10 Children’s Books they love (lists to come). What fun it was to read the lists. The lists reminded us of some old favorites and introduced us to some new soon-to-be favorites. It also made me reminisce about books I love.

There is nothing I love more than children’s books (except for my family and dogs, maybe). If you drop me in a bookstore, I will gravitate toward the children’s section. Especially the picture books. I think this comes from being a kindergarten teacher for many years. Picture books teach us about life, how to laugh at ourselves, see the joy and humor in the simplest of things. They teach us about how to treat others and how others should treat us. They help us sort through our feelings and find a friend who is like us when no one around us is. We read about places we haven’t been to, animals we haven’t seen, events we didn’t live through. Picture books are everything you need to know about life wrapped up in small packages.

It doesn’t matter if I’m teaching kindergarteners or adults, there is always a reason to read a picture book. One book I’ve read to all ages is Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox. It’s a beautifully written and illustrated story about a little boy named Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge.

“…His house was next door to an old people’s home and he knew all the people who lived there. He liked Mr. Jordan who played the organ. He listened to Mr. Hosking who told him scary stories…. But his favourite person of all was Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper because she had four names just as he did. He called her Miss Nancy and told her all his secrets….”

If you haven’t met Wilfrid and Miss Nancy, you must get this book and read it. No matter who is in the audience, two things happen at the end of the book. The room is quiet, and I get teary-eyed (and so do some of the people listening). This book connects with all ages for all sorts of reasons. It’s a gem! There are so many picture books I love and new books I want to read, but forever and always Mem Fox and Joy Cowley will be my author idols of children’s picture books. Who are your favorite authors and/or illustrators? We’d love to know!

But it’s not just picture books that I love, we talk about kids who “read up,” meaning they are reading books above their grade level. Well, I am an adult who chooses to “read down” frequently. Where picture books teach us about life, beginning chapter books, middle-grade books, and YA books help kids get through life. These books are safe places for kids to connect with characters and the world. As a mom, these books have helped me connect with my son and his friends and to see the world through their eyes. The only problem with reading down for me is the amount of crying I do. A new books = a new box of tissues! One thing is clear, children’s books from picture books to YA make a mark on us. Let us know some books you love, so we know what to read next!

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