“It was good to walk into a library again; it smelled like home.”
― Elizabeth Kostova, The Historian
The library. Any library. The one I frequented as a child in my hometown. The one I spent huddled up between classes researching and cramming for finals during university. The little town library at the end of a bridge I currently frequent with my daughters. I step through a library’s doors and my mood lightens. It’s a feel good kind of feeling. A gives me all the feels type of emotion.
What an extraordinary idea; the public library system. A place you can go everyday of the week if you wanted, and leave with a gift of your choosing. Well, I know my oldest daughter thinks of it this way. And for her, it is usually a hefty selection of free gifts.
A library excursion is a weekly must for my daughters and me. It was one of the first destinations I attempted after the birth of my second daughter. Fortunate for me, we live in a small town, with a small (but abundant) library just a few miles down the road. A trip to the library seemed like a manageable excursion for a mother adjusting to life with two.
Once a week, we reach our destination bags laden with books. We trundle our way up to the children’s section—divide, conquer and leave replenished with new biblio-treasures. My oldest daughter has gotten into the habit of requesting three books to read on the ride home. This is how excited she is to dive into her literary finds. Although she is just now starting to read the words on the page, she has always loved “reading” books. She carefully looks at the pictures and makes up a story to go along with what she thinks is happening. Then she has me read the actual words to the story. She will often times reread a hybrid of both her story and the author’s story at her leisure. And you see, that’s it! I know I have her hooked just as I was when I was a child frequenting the library. It won’t be long until she’ll be reading these stories to me and pulling her little sister along into biblio-worlds of enchantment.
To end, I want to begin with what I hope will be a series of posts about our top literary finds. My daughter choose a classic as her first pick and I choose a book I think could become a classic one day.
Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel and illustrated by Blair Lent is a retelling of a Chinese folktale about a boy with a long name who fell into a well. My daughter often requests her father to read this book for her bedtime story. She loves the repetition of Tikki’s name throughout the story which makes it a great read-aloud book. I love the muted colors of the illustrations indicative to the year it was originally published in 1968.
Wonderfully illustrated as it is written, The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith, is a sweet and quiet story about a fox who has a friend in a star. The star guides him through the dark forest but when the star disappears from the night sky, the fox must learn to be brave.
My daughter loves the deep orange color of the fox. I knew this would be a favorite of ours the moment I picked it up. The cloth bound cover is a rich blue begging you to take it home. The story’s illustrations do not fail to disappoint with their minimal color palette—visually matching the hushed tone of the story.
The library never fails to disappoint us. Not every book is our favorite but our moods are lightened with every discovery we do find.