Wednesday, June 13, 2012

First books...

This was the first book I ever owned. Great little story. I must pick up another copy. Parents bought it for my 5th birthday. 

I was the saddest dog you could ever see,
Sad because no one wanted me.
The pet shop window was my jail.
The sign behind me said, "For Sale."

For my 7th birthday (when I was sick in bed with the flu) my mother bought me a set of a half dozen Secret Seven books by Enid Blyton. Then for my 9th birthday she bought me 'Of Mice and Men' by John Steinbeck. I looked at it, looked like a small book, easy read. That was the end of the beginning for me.

Makes me think of first books and of the children lucky enough to be introduced to the world of books and reading early. Ours wasn't a house of books by any means. Even cheap paperbacks required putting money aside, and a book as a present was for birthdays and Christmas only. 

But then I discovered libraries. 

Stories have been captured and housed and transported within many different forms, oral, the early presses, ornate hardbacks, bargain paperbacks, mainstream paperbacks with higher production values, .pdfs, e-books. I'm certainly glad to have lived in a time where, as a child, books were both a voice created in the reader's imagination, and a tactile, sensory object. My early books eventually required large amounts of cellotape. School librarians would shudder when they saw me coming. The 'new' world of e-books will give us different pleasures, and some of the children's e-books out have exquisite graphics and lots of interactivity. But there will always be something to be said for rolling up a bent and battered copy of 'Of Mice and Men' in your back pocket and riding your bike to somewhere with grass and a tree and pulling it out and flattening the pages.  
They're all good times, just in different ways. As long as we keep telling stories, and listening, and reading.

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