The Zoey Blog: Books, Books, Books and More Books...x 10 FINAL - COVER UNIVERSE EXPLORERS ORDER


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Books, Books, Books and More Books...x 10



For a while, I’ve been paying attention to people’s bookshelves. It's really been a form of voyueristic portraiture; you know, you can actually learn a lot about people by their books, even just by their book covers. Sounds stupid but it's not. Do you know a damn thing about wine? No, but I bet a good label gets you every time. It does me. Aesthetics matter, they just do. Trust me so we don't have to get all into some weird psycho-babble crap.

Anyway, so now I’m officially starting a little side project with some some other select parents to find out what's on their children's book shelves and why. Depending on the age of your child, it's typically been you, the parent, who has chosen their literature. It certainly says something about you, as a person and as a parent, but here's the fun part...what does it say about your child, or maybe more accurately said, how might it help to define your child in the long run? Because it will...it most certainly will.

Meg Ryan's character in the film, You've Got Mail, Kathleen Kelly, captured the notion perfectly when she spoke about the legacy that her mother left behind by being a bookseller. She said, "it wasn't that she was selling books, it was that she was helping people become whoever they were going to turn out to be. When you read a book as a child it becomes part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your life does." And it's true. It certainly was for me.

So take a look at your kids books. What are they reading? What are you pushing into their psyches? What do they love, and what is it that they'd rather use to prop the door open with? Does the artwork matter? Does the message matter? Is it just entertainment? What does their bookshelf (or book box if you're us at the moment) look like? We're talking about painting a portrait of you and your children in terms of literature. Like a literary bar code, or what amounts to be the equivalent of a literary stamp on your child's intellectual DNA, but with the colorful spines of his or her books (like the Jane Mount painting above).

It's important stuff, it really is.

Zo's hooked on Russell the Sheep, it's her bedtime ritual and Mom can recite it by heart now. She loves the Sandra Boynton books, like Hippos Go Beserk, and But Not The Hippopotamus, and she loves her Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?‎ book that the Bergquists sent her. She's also got these giant Sesame Street board books that she digs, and she just got Oliver Jeffers, Lost and Found for her first birthday. Her literary interests fall just short of what's chewable at the moment, but her closet is stacked high with future investments.

Despite her penchant for eating books (so we're certain she'll love the brilliance of Oliver Jeffers The Incredible Book Eating Boy that's stashed away until the pages won't serve as cud)she a fairly voracious reader. She just flips page after page, and would do so with just about anything that actually has pages...magazines, brochures, even the cardboard labels attached to new clothes...she's a freak. We're doing our best to cultivate a love of reading and so the closet collection is increasing at an alarming rate. We really should take a complete inventory and then get this kid some book shelves.

That's a good idea. Keep an eye out for a thorough inventory from the Library of Zed, and then as soon as we're done with this cumbersome chore called work we'll post Zo's literary bar code here for the entire universe, or all fifteen of you, to see. Have a nice day...mahalo.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Tellie said...

When I was about 5 months pregnant I woke from a dream convinced that I was not ready for Noah to be born because I did not any of The Chronicles of Narnia Books. It's weird because I think they're a little bible-y anyways so I am not sure why my subconscious decided they were that important.

A lot of Noah's books are my old ones and a while ago I started asking people to write their name in the inside cover if they gave me a book, or borrowed one of mine. A book is better when it has experience, and it's kind of fun to see the book's history. Next time we're in town we should try to do a book lending swap with books of Zoey's that she is too old for and books Noah has that he is too young for still. Or maybe we could just mail each other a couple books every few months and then when we mail them back we can mail a new one at the same time. I don't know any other parents who would appreciate doing something like that, and it might be fun.
Tellie

January 28, 2010 at 11:45 PM  
Blogger Brian DeWagner said...

I LOVE that idea...

Okay, it's official...Feb 1st we must both grab a book and slap it in the post.

Let's do this...

1 old book, on loan...and when you're done with it you have to write a note inside (if there's no room for a note then you can always just chuck in a note on some paper, maybe use it as a bookmark or somethin...

1 book that's new...gotta be less than $15

Alternate months, and the loaners make their way way whenever they can...

We could even make old school library cards and those cool library check out pocket for the backs of our books! Or buy 'em somewhere. Way more cool to make though...

Ooooooh, I like.

Okay...amend this plan as you see fit, then Feb 1st let's ship out a new book. March 1st an old one, April 1, new...
May 1, old...
June 1, new...
July 1, old...
Aug 1, new...
Sept 1, old...
Oct 1, new...
Nov 1, old...
Dec 1, new! for Christmas!!

Then we'll evaluate our efforts before 2011 starts...Maybe refine it a little, maybe pull some others into the mix? How's that?

January 29, 2010 at 6:59 AM  
Anonymous Tellie said...

Awesome!! So in!! I'll work on some homemade bookmarks for Zoey so I can send notes on her books back on a bookmark for her to use in the next one. For my books she (or mommy or daddy) can write on the inside cover ('cuz I'll lose notes and I'd like to keep em) and it doesn't have to be anything more than her name and date. There's kind of a reason behind the inside cover thing for me, inspired by an old family book from my Mom.

So, we'll send the loaners back when we can (like with the next month's book) and the new ones are bought with the recipient in mind - like I'd get to go find a cute little book for Zo to keep on alternate months? Or if you want the new books back we can do that too, but I kind of like the idea of having someone other than us buy Noah a book every couple months because you will make different choices. I mean, buying our kids a new book (at least) every two months is something we'd do anyways, so this way they still get a new book - it's just coming from friends. We can post on our blogs each month how the new book went down (even just a quick mention) with the kids so we can get ideas on what types the other likes best.

For the loaners, even though Zoey is older than Noah I still have lots for her age group (I have no control in Chapters), so she won't be stuck with baby books meant for him.

January 30, 2010 at 12:09 AM  
Blogger Brian DeWagner said...

Done! New, old, new...and yeah, keep the new...they're gifts, and return the old whenever you can. Notes made in front covers and Canada Post enjoying our little game.

Feb 1st...new book and a padded envelope...I'm excited.

January 30, 2010 at 7:55 AM  

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