Recently, my son has grown more interested in books and what happens when we open them. One of our favorite activities is going to a book store and visiting the children’s section. At night I read aloud to him while he plays in the bath tub and even though he’s not even two, I’m reading the Harry Potter series to him. (He makes truck noises and I enjoy the story.) But in the past two weeks, breakfast time has become story time.
We carry his breakfast to his little table and I sit down beside him at his request. I grab a book from a stack that we keep nearby. I love this part of the morning because it’s as though I’m actually seeing a love of words and colors and stories bloom right in front of me.
I have a secret… I didn’t know about this Goodnight Moon book until I was an aunt and I didn’t read it until I was a mom, but there is something about it that warms me up inside and almost gets me emotional. How weird, huh? Why is that?
If my son lets me choose the book, I always choose Goodnight Moon or Big Red Barn and I relish reading them to him. The whole thing reminds me of the movie You’ve Got Mail and Meg Ryan’s character, Kathleen Kelly. When she says, “When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does,” it always makes me quiet inside because this statement is so true. These little books like Goodnight Moon, Big Red Barn, or On The Night You Were Born establish great spring boards inside our kiddos that can send them leaping upward into reading.
Soon the house is full of Skippy John Jones and Chico-Bon-Bon books and they want to know more, see more, touch more. They make noises to sound like the animal they see or the machine they see on the page and every time I watch this happen, I fall more in love with words.
It’s easy at times to glance at a cardboard book for kids and say, “I could draw that. I could write that, too.” But I don’t think it’s that easy. These starter books are building blocks and it’s no small thing to figure out what will keep a child’s mind from overloading. So, thanks to Margaret Wise Brown and other authors that take on this task and soothe my soul with lines like:
“Goodnight air… Goodnight noises everywhere…”