Why did we choose these twelve books for this literacy campaign? We were looking for books that would cause today's busy young mothers and fathers to stop and remember sitting on someone's lap to be read to and to want to recreate those memories with their own little ones.
So several parents of 2-5 year olds, with roots in Illinois, as well as their parents were asked what books they especially remember sharing. These are among the very top memory makers: Goodnight Moon, Where the Wild Things Are, Corduroy, Harold and the Purple Crayon, The Snowy Day, Charlotte?s Web, Clifford the Big Red Dog books, the Francis books, Frog and Toad books, Seuss books, and Eric Carle's books.
What was most interesting about the survey were some of the comments added about shared reading:
From a young mom and teacher, "Little Kristie's Favorites: This is one of my favorite memories of my dad - all the reading at night, with my head on his chest, his voice resonating in my ear. The Frances books by Hoban are also a favorite of mine and my dad's. My favorite, though, was a story called My Father's Dragon by Ruth Gannet Stiles. I read it to my classes now and they love it as much as I did. It was on the cover of an IRC journal last summer I think."
A mother of two little boys wrote, "I loved all of the Frances books. Do you remember Brownie books? Not the Girl Scouts, but little people with tails? I loved those as well as the Borrowers which are wonderful books to read with children. My husband remembers reading the Narnia books with his mother. I think that Beverly Cleary is a timeless author, especially her Ramona series. My mom and I shared Nancy Drew as well."
Another reading teacher and grandmother wrote, "We read lots of Seuss books, especially Green Eggs and Ham and Sneetches and other stories (the ones about the north-going zax meeting the south-going zax; the plae green pants with nobody inside; and Mrs. McCallum who had 23 sons and she named them all Dave)."
From a reading teacher and grandmother, "I loved Boxcar Children and Laura Ingalls Wilder Books. Mother and I read them together. I would read aloud while she pinned up my hair. I remember her crying about the Christmas they were so thrilled with an orange and a penny or something like that and that so impressed me. My grandmother read them to her sixth graders, and my great-grandfather read them when in his 90's, because they reminded him of his youth on the prairie in SW Missouri. It's daughter Melissa's all-time favorite series, so it is a 5-generation favorite in our family. Thanks for the warm trip down memory lane. I love the feelings of reading good books together."
We couldn't include them all, so we chose the top vote getters. But from this you can see the emotional connection between reading and family - which was our goal.