The Gift of Reading
Second Carnival of Children's Literature Available

A Child's Collections of Books

I just wrote a review of The Gift of Reading: A Guide for Educators and Parents, by David Bouchard and Wendy Sutton. One point that I thought warranted a separate post was a discussion of the collections of books to which children have access. In Chapter 2, David Bouchard expands on the idea promoted by Paul Kropp in Raising a Reader; Make Your Child a Reader for Life that parents need to reach into their pockets to buy books for their children. He says: "It has been said that children should have access to five collections of books; their public library, their school library, their teacher's collection, their parents' collection and their own collection. It is never too early to start building that personal collection of books for and with your child. It need not contain many books, but they will be precious."

I think that I was particularly fortunate as a child. I had wonderful access to all five collections listed above. My parents bought me many books, both new and used, from school book sales and from bookstores. I also had access to my Mom's old collection of books, especially her Nancy Drew and Bobbsey Twins books, some of which had been her Mom's. I considered my elementary school librarian, Mrs. Tuttle, a personal friend and adviser, and still have several books that she gave me. I lived in a town with a wonderful library, and had a library card from an early age. And I remember especially my third grade teacher's in-room book collection, from which I was introduced to the Little House books.

But I had access to other collections of books, too. My grandmother, my father's mother, not only had books from my father's childhood at her house, she also had a collection of children's books that she loved herself, and read as an adult. This is where I gained and reinforced my love of the Maida books, by Inez Haynes Irwin. I can also remember going to my own church library, and to my grandmother's church library. I was a lucky kid! And it's no coincidence that I ended up a reader.

Take a moment to consider what book collections you had access to as a child, and what collections your children have. Could there be more? Are there aunts or uncles or grandparents who might have children's books to loan to your child? The more people there are providing and recommending books, the more likely a child is to grow into a reader.

What collections did you have? Did they help to shape you as a reader? -- Jen