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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.
Library of the mind
Do you remember a book from your early childhood? Which one? Why do you remember it?
I remember The Poky Little Puppy (Golden Books) and others fondly; I also remember my mother's soft skin and gentle fragrance as I snuggled next to her while she read. Was it the book (older than I am but still available)? Could it have been how it was shared?
A documentary due out this fall entitled "Library of the Early Mind," will explore children's literature and what it means to young children. A number of well known writers and illustrators (Mo Willems, David Small, and Lois Lowry to name just a few) give insight into their work in a trailer, certainly piquing my interest and getting the thought processes going — doing, I suppose, just what it's meant to do.
What is the lure of books? Why are they critical to a child's development? Why do some books stand out for young readers — even into adulthood? In other words, what is it that makes a book memorable?
Maybe those books that work on many levels, that touch authentic emotions, are the ones that are most memorable. Maybe it's simply in the sharing. Anita Silvey explores the impact of children's books in Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children's Book (Roaring Brook). The title suggests what the book posits.
I don't know if there is a definitive answer but part of the fun is in thinking about it. It is also in reading, and above all, creating opportunities for books to make memories with and for children.