I am a proud auntie to a niece and nephew. I don’t have any children of my own, so I get to put all my mothering feelings toward these adorable and spirited kids who amaze me every day. And one of the things I feel most important to impart, other than the whole “being a good person” thing, is the love of reading.
The first gift I ever bought my nephew was a book, for my sister’s baby shower. The first time I baby-sat, I brought my favorite picture books and read to him for hours. After my niece was born, I got really good at propping a kid in the crook of either arm and turning pages. But while I love reading to them and sharing my personal favorites, I really love taking them to the library and letting them run free.
I love seeing which books interest them from the shelves. What colors, what covers, which characters they grow to love and want to read over and over again- it’s all great. My nephew was just telling me that he asked for a set of Pete the Cat books for his birthday, and the last time I took the babes on a car trip, there was a sack full of library books in between their car seats that kept them occupied for the entire ride.
As I’ve talked about before, reading was one of the greatest joys in my childhood. So many of my favorite, fondest memories relate to a book I read at the time. Little House on the sofa at five, finding slim paperback volumes of Sleepover Friends and the Baby-sitters Club at the local hole in the wall library, my first Stephen King, Cujo, during a blackout. And now, getting to see two of the most important people in my life creating their own special book memories- it’s the absolute best feeling. I can only hope that they will treasure reading like I did, or at least use this time to help them find the things that they will enjoy most of all.