I’ve always been an avid reader. One of my sisters recons that they (my sisters) taught me to read when I was about 3 years old. I just know that I was very disappointed when I entered the first grade to find that the other kids couldn’t read (in those days that’s the way it was done, and there weren’t any Grade R or whatever). I distinctly remember getting home on the first day and declaring to my mother that I wouldn’t be going back, as those “stupid kids can’t even read!” When we eventually got to have our first reader I tossed it down in total disgust. Those two and three word sentences would just not do. I read my brother (2 years my senior) and sister’s (a year older than our brother) readers before they did!
I read everything I could lay my hands on, and had quite a number of favourite books that I would read over and over. One of them was Enid Blyton’s “The Magic Faraway Tree“, one of three books concerning a group of children’s adventures in the Enchanted Wood and at the top of the Faraway Tree. The books are “The Enchanted Wood”, “The Magic Faraway Tree” and “The Folk of the Faraway Tree”.
When my oldest daughter was little I was unable to find this book, as with many other of my childhood favourites. I was over the moon to find the above collection of the three books at my local bookstore a while ago.
Now I read it to the youngest one. And oh! how she loves it! One would think that a thoroughly modern child would have no interest in an old-fashioned story like this. If you could only see her face light up in the evenings when mommy says: “To bed we go, it’s story time”. Although she’s quite big enough to read it for herself (even in her second language), nothing beats having mommy read to one, does it? We don’t read every evening like we did when she was smaller, because I do believe she has to read for herself as well, but then she reads other books. One evening an English book and the next an Afrikaans book – but she refuses to read The Magic Faraway Tree for herself (which the mommy is very glad about). It’s so special to cuddle up and share another adventure in a book we both love.
There are tons of books I loved as a child and girl, and if I could, I would share each and every one with my kids. There’s a particular Afrikaans series of books for girls that I didn’t care much for when I was young, but was very popular with other girls my age – I was quite amused to find that my eldest daughter didn’t much care for that particular series either. I never told her I found it quite silly when I was a girl, and had to hide a smile when she told me at around 11/12 that the girls in those stories are quite idiotic. Exactly how I felt about them at that age too! Fortunately in the last couple of years there’s been quite a spate of really good Afrikaans books for girls that came out.
I’m sure going to be buying those for the little one, but believe me, my childhood favourites (many Enid Blyton ones) are going to find their way to her bookshelf too!
Do you have childhood books you share with your children?