One of my earliest memories of books is my mother reading to me when I was around 4-5 years old. We would sit curled up in bed as she read from a colourful book. I don’t exactly recall when I started reading by myself and got drawn into the world of books so much that I din’t really need any human for company. There were times I was so content reading a book that it felt much better than having a conversation with someone.
I recall the time when I was travelling on work to Hong Kong. One of my most wonderful memories is devouring a novel at a quaint cafe with my favourite cup of cocoa. My reading has substantially reduced after having a baby and my demanding job but any chance that I get to rekindle this old love is one that I am sure not to miss.
One thing that I really wanted my child to imbibe at a young age was the love for books and I knew it needs effort, it doesn’t come easy. I recall immersing myself in a Jodi Picoult intense novel in the penultimate days of my pregnancy but this wasn’t going to ensure my daughter would magically develop a love for books.
My busy work schedule doesn’t make it easier for me but with my mom’s support , we worked together to create the right environment for my child which would expose her to this wonderful world at a young age and the rest was bound to follow.
We started reading to her when she was a few months old. Picture books which she loved ogling at , as we made the story come alive through actions, sounds and funny faces. We slowly moved to books with a few more words. Sesame street and Good Night Moon were the first books in her collection followed by Spot stories (an adorable doggie who has many adventures). She then moved to her favourite Peppa Pig and Dora stories. The best part was she would read a book then watch the same episode on TV and had great fun correlating the 2.
I found some amazing books for kids at Bargain Book Hunt @ Mantri Mall Bangalore and added them to the collection. Bedtime Tales and Stories for 3,4,5,6 year olds.
Oliver Jeffers is another author whose creative work I totally loved. His books are unique in terms of story telling and the illustrations are captivating.
Amelia Jane, the story of a naughty doll who is always upto some mischief is something I don’t really approve of but my daughter seems to enjoy.
Tania’s Tales , the story of a little girl growing up in Mumbai , the author being a dear friend is something I have recently introduced Angel to and she is liking it. It leaves me parched though as she is never content with one story and reading one tale after another without taking a break can be quite tough!
Getting your child to inculcate the habit of reading is not as easy as it sounds. First of all it needs a lot of sacrifice on part of the parent/ caregiver- you are hardly able to pick up your own book, barely do you manage to read a line when your child calls out to read a story.
Its also important to refine the child’ s taste by exposing them to different kinds of books, by different authors, who give the child diverse perspectives about life.
Reading bedtime stories is a daily ritual at our home, its my mother who does this on weekdays as I get home late, way past my girl’s bedtime but I make up for it on weekends and holidays. Despite the ache in my throat and a need for a break to do something of my own, hearing the words “One more story please Mumma” is the sweetest form of music to my ears.
There couldn’t be a better gift I could have bestowed upon my daughter than ushering her into my magical world of books. I had to buy her an exclusive book shelf when I realised the number of books was growing day by day and the space remained constrained.
I look forward to many more adventures and mythical journeys that we embark on as bibliophiles.