Taking Me Back…Read Across America

(c) Pezibear, pixabay.com [4]

(c) Pezibear, pixabay.com

As you may have guessed if you know that I’m a former English teacher, I love reading.

I read the way other people drink alcohol. I read to celebrate. I read when I’m sad. I read when I’m angry. I read when I’m incredibly upset and want to hide from the world and forget my troubles (I call these days “binge reading” and often finish one or two books in the course of one of them, because I literally don’t do anything else except eat and go to the bathroom). I read with friends…we swap books, talk about books, and when we’re on vacation we even sit in the hotel room together and read our individual books. Sometimes we meet up to sit in coffee shops and read our books.

I’m lucky to have friends as crazy as I am 🙂

Today is Read Across America Day, a “holiday” sponsored by the NEA to get more children and young adults to read. As I read the article about this that I saw on Twitter, it took me back to my own elementary school days.

(c) sof_sof_0000, pixabay.com

(c) sof_sof_0000, pixabay.com

Anyone else remember Book-It? It was a program where we earned points for the number of books we read, and the people with the most points at the end of the year got prizes (books, natch). I still remember in fifth grade getting the book Sam the Cat Detective, which lingers fondly in my memory.

Ooh, or when the book fair came to school? Was there anything more exciting than seeing those huge silver suitcases on wheels, that you just knew were filled with lovely new tomes, and knowing you had an extra few dollars in your pocket to buy something special? (maybe pizza day in the cafeteria? Or the day we got to play with the giant parachute in gym? But otherwise, nothing comes close to the book fair)

(c) jill111, pixabay.com [3]

(c) jill111, pixabay.com

I also remember how, for National Library Week, different parents would come to school to read to our class. The absolute best was the year my Mom dressed up as Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and came to class to read from, obviously, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle (if you don’t know who Mrs. Piggle Wiggle is, she was an older lady who lived in an upside-down house and helped children overcome such problems as not wanting to take baths, being a slow-eater-tiny-bite-taker, and not wanting to clean their rooms. She always had very creative solutions, such as letting the little girl who didn’t want to take a bath not take them, and then planting turnip seeds in the dirt that collected on her skin).(C) PublicDomainPictures, pixabay.com [10]

(Writing that out, I feel like it sounds kind of psychotic. But it’s charming, I promise. She was the queen of reverse psychology, basically.)

Anyway, it just so happens that a few days ago I was grocery shopping, and happened upon a bin full of children’s books. What happened to be laying on top?

Only my FAVORITE book from my kindergarten years: Put Me in the Zoo by Robert Lopshire. I don’t remember quite why I was obsessed with this book at the time, but I do remember making my mom read it to me over and over and over again. It was only $5, so I immediately snatched it up, planning to give it to my little honorary niece.

But within about 30 seconds I had decided to keep it for myself. After all, she’s only 8 months old. And I can always read it to her when I babysit.Who knows, maybe I’ll dig out Mrs. Piggle Wiggle or Same the Cat Detective, too…

Do you have any favorite book-based memories from childhood? What’s your drug of choice in good times and bad?

(c) Bonnybbx, pixabay.com

(c) Bonnybbx, pixabay.com

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