Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What was your first book?

Do you remember the first book you selected and read all by yourself? I do. Dr. Seuss's On Beyond Zebra in my second-grade class.

I think Miss Hillman, my teacher, told the class to select a book to read from the shelf in the room whenever our work was done. The cover drew me because of the zebra which was similar to a horse, and being horse crazy even then, it was irresistible. The pictures impressed me as much as the words and sent me on a drawing-coloring fit that lasted a lifetime. It was a fun book and I remember feeling such a sense of accomplishment at having read it. I felt the same thing the first time I read a whole book without pictures although I cannot remember the title of that book.

Reading is such an enjoyment I don't know why so many people (I think the statistics are 2 or 3 out of every 5) don't read for pleasure.

Reading is a lot like looking at art, or a two-way communication between author or artist and reader. Everyone who stands in front of a painting sees and understands it a little differently from everyone else. It's the same with written material. When you read a story, especially one you like, you take ownership of it. When the story is distilled through your mind, when you see the action in thought and identify with the characters, they become a part of you. So, although you didn't write a book, in a very real way, the book becomes yours.

Well, do you remember that first book?


  1. I'm sure this wasn't the first book I read as a child, but it's the most memorable. My grandfather read Black Beauty to me when I was a child--several times. I remember clearly the day when I opened the book and read it back to him, attempting to add the inflections and accents he'd added to make the story come to life.

    It's a sweet memory. Thanks.

    Linda Rettstatt

  2. I remember I really loved The Digging-est Dog and Go! Dog Go!

    Hmm - there does seem to be a little theme there doesn't it?

  3. I loved the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series and of course Pippi Longstocking. But there was one book with a cat wearing a crown on the cover, and was about a prince and princess adopting the cat. I read that book until it fell apart. I wish I could remember the title because it had to be the first book I read by myself.

    My husband's favorite book from his childhood was The Boy Who Ate Flowers. He talked about that story for years. I finally found it on an endangered species list of books and gave it to him for his birthday. Only two in existence with a very serious price tag, but he was thrilled.

  4. The first book I can remember for sure that I picked out was a book about two litle fawns titled Dash and Dart. It had some great pictures.

    Elaine Cantrell

  5. I can't remember the first books I read while learnign to read, but I do remember the first books that made an impact on me as a child and they were written by Enid Blyton. The Wishing Chair, The Faraway Tree, etc.