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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Books in the home

July 30, 2010

When I was growing up, we had lots of book. Looking back, I know that they were mostly mass market books (remember the Little Golden Books?) and lots of the books my mother read as a child and subsequently gave to us.

My sister and I both grew up to be readers — and so did our children who also have lots of books at home.

I was reminded of this when I read a Washington Post article by their education columnist, Jay Matthews, who also noted that not all children have books in their homes.

Organizations like First Book and Reading Is Fundamental certainly help address discrepancies. And so do libraries.

Not only do libraries generally have lots of book choices for children, the books can be borrowed for several weeks at a time. When my son was little, we often had to buy the library books that he loved — sometimes to death. Owl Babies (Candlewick) by Martin Waddell was one that was read so often that I had to replace the library's copy. At some point, I met the author and got an autographed copy. It's all wrapped up now for my son who just might share it with his child one day.

Books make memories; connect people over distance and time and space and experiences.

I learned yesterday that my niece Michaela got her first library card — from an especially nice librarian. After she checked out Blueberries for Sal (one of the books I read to her last week!), Michaela checked out a book and CD for her 3-year old sister. I'll have to find out what it was!

Regardless, books connect people — including children — at many levels.

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"Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks." — Dr. Seuss