I'm not just a reader, writer, and editor, I'm a book collector. If you're anything like me, getting someone to read a book you've suggested because you just loved, loved, loved it, fills you with a strange, zealous fervor. Because of this, I've lost a number of books through the years to friends, family, and even to one of my son's short-lived nannies, all because I am filled with a passion for sharing the words and worlds I've read so much I willingly hand out books like I'm the public library.
The one person I love sharing books with more than anyone though, is my son. One of my favorite parts of the day is bedtime and sharing my love of reading with my five-year-old. He's incredibly imaginative, and so far, he loves to read, find new books, and pick one or three out each night to read. My goal is to nurture this into a lifelong love of reading. So when I recently pulled out some of my old chapter books from when I was between the ages of six and ten years old, I contemplated seeing if he'd be interested in reading one with me.
While I don't have all my books from my WHOLE life ever, I'd say I have a lot of them. My mother and sister have even dumped some of their old books on me, even while urging me to donate mine. But no, unless they're tired text books, I've held onto them. I can't seem to let them go. My son and I have enjoyed books from my childhood--Pinkerton Behave by Steven Kellogg (my son finds this one hilarious); all the books written by Stephen Cosgrove that no one I know has ever heard of but all which have special lessons at the end and are beautifully written and illustrated; my Care Bears books; Outside Over There by Maurice Sendak; etc.
Don't get me wrong, I love discovering new ones with him as well. I get as excited as when I was a kid when Scholastic orders come home, even though new books we do not need nor have space for. But sharing the old, the ones I loved as a kid with my own child, brings a certain nostalgia with it while igniting the passion to share. Did anyone ever read the Lemonade Trick by by Scott Corbett as a kid? I remember loving it. This is the first chapter book my son allowed me to read to him, and he actually let me finish it over the course of several days. But I'm astounded he stayed attentive, because there were many mundane details at times I thought I would lose him. Despite sometimes frequent interruptions for questions, he was for the most part engaged, at times falling into appropriate fits of giggles during the funny parts, questioning me about chemistry during the science/magic parts, and there were even a couple of times I was informed that he did not like Bumps Burton (the bully) at all. Today, we made a special trip to the store because he suddenly was craving lemonade.
Next, he agreed to let me read him Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones, which is probably one of my favorites from my childhood. But a few sentences in, we both realized it was above him at this moment, so we shelved it for another time and a little growth. We broke it up with a little Pete the Cat tonight, and next we're onto my Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books by Betty MacDonald. I'm certain if I can dig out my Bunnicula books by James Howe he'll fall in love.
See, the moral of my story is, being a book "collector" can pay off, and I hope it continues to far into the future.
K.M. Randall writes fantasy and paranormal for both a general and young adult audience. Her debut novel, an epic fantasy called Fractured Dream, launched in June 2014, and her second book, The Reaper's Daughter, launched May 2015. Randall also published Fairytale Lost, a prequel to Fractured Dream, as an exclusive on Wattpad. She blogs about dreams, female heroines, and activism and its relevancy to the literary and fictional world. And when in the season, sometimes she just likes to talk about Halloween. She is currently hard at work on the second book in the Dreamer Saga series, Shattered World.