The gifts of a lifetime

In my previous post I mentioned Barbara, giver of the Happiness Kit.

Long before the Happiness Kit came into my household, Barbara (and her family ) gave us other gifts: the gift of thoughtful words, like these,

Barbara's Words, School Magazine 1944

Barbara’s  student words about our duty and responsibility to establish a saner world for our children: School Magazine 1944

and the gift of Angela, otherwise known as my sister-in-law. This coming week it will be Angela’s birthday. This post is my birthday  gift to Angela. ~

I write a lot about reading; reading books, in particular.

This is where my official reading life began;  Lautoka European School,

My brother; the advance party on the reading path.

My brother, first row, 4th from the left; the advance reading party; my mentor at L.E.S.

a small school, in a small colonial town, on a dot of an island, in the vast Pacific Ocean.  My reading ‘prowess’ was acquired, staid word upon staid word, with the assistance of the utterly dull, ‘what-have-these-people-got-to-do-with-my-life’  Janet and John readers, and a young teacher who, whilst relatively benign most of the time, once had the audacity to strap some of us on the back of our legs for failing to recognise the word of the day on the blackboard ~ “BARK”.  I was offended, and still am to this day! WOOF! 😀

Despite this unfortunate hiccup in my early reading days, my enthusiasm for reading did not falter. I attribute that enthusiasm to the pre-reading skills that were nurtured at home,

Playing with Mother aka reading readiness

Gallivanta playing with Mother aka reading readiness

and at  my mother’s kindergarten, through play and story-time. I don’t remember being read to, but I do remember the books that were read and that I later learned to read by myself. Many of those books remain on my bookshelves.  Here’s a sample:

As I was learning to understand, and love, the written word in Lautoka, about 200kms to  the East, another young girl was already well on the road to reading her way through the world of books.

In May, this year, that young girl, now all grown up as Angela Namoi, was awarded the  Pixie O’Harris Award for Distinguished and Dedicated Service to the Development and Reputation of Australian Children’s Books at the  Australian Book Industry Awards.  It was a fitting honour for Angela’s hard work and enormous contribution to children’s literature.  But more than that, it seems to me, the award acknowledges how from the smallest of beginnings, a few, simple written words, be they Janet and John or Pearl Pinkie and Sea Greenie, come riches far greater than any we can possibly  imagine when, in that magical nanosecond, we first decipher those squiggles on the page before us.

Angela puts it like this in these excerpts from her acceptance speech for the Pixie O’Harris award.

This is a huge honour and something I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams.

Pearl Pinkie and Sea Greenie by Pixie O’Harris was a favourite children’s book of mine – who’d have thought that I would one day win an award bearing her name.

There are people to thank!……….

My parents are Australian, but I was born and raised in Fiji. My father was a missionary so we had very little money. Although our clothes might have been sewn from old curtains, it’s thanks to my mother’s excellent sense of priorities that our house was always full of books.

Growing up on a small island meant we were exposed to influences from absolutely everywhere. We read books from all over the world and I was always fascinated by the variations in language, and how connected that was to geography.

This has fed my passion for diversity of voice, so I have greatly enjoyed working to ensure the Australian voice is heard LOUD AND CLEAR in the wider world!

My early experiences confirmed the importance of books in a child’s life. The stats are there for everyone to see – broadly, a child who has books in their home is a child who will do better in life. I believe this passionately.

 

To that I would add: Congratulations and Happy Birthday Angela. You are much-loved.

Related but separate: two examples of Australian Children’s Literature

Possum Magic by Mem Fox

and  The Arrival by Shaun Tan

There are many more. Next time you read a children’s book, take a quick look and check its country of origin. You may find you are in the good company of an Australian. 😉

© silkannthreades

 

 

 

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91 thoughts on “The gifts of a lifetime

  1. mmmarzipan

    Beautiful post! And I love your book collection. So sweet!
    I love reading too. It was first my Montessori school and then my dad that nurtured that spark in me. The first novel I read was The Hobbit and I did so because I was curious when I saw it on my dad’s nightstand. I asked him what it was about. He started to explain and then, after answering lots of questions, thought it easier to start reading it to me. And then I read it myself.
    By the way, I am really sorry to hear that children were given the strap in your class! That makes me cross!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      The strap was still a common form of punishment in my primary school days. 😦 The only good thing I can say about it is that it showed me how stupid it was. Even as a child I could see it was counter-productive. Thank goodness the silliness of the strap was overshadowed by the wonderful people, (like your Dad) who read to us and introduced us to big books, and encouraged our curiosity.

      Reply
      1. mmmarzipan

        ((hugs)). When I started school, “the cane” was still used (or we were regularly threatened with it, at the very least). Even a smack on the bottom is illegal in Sweden today, so my peers here would see strapping or caning as positively barbaric. So glad my children will never have to experience that. x

        Reply
  2. Leya

    My congratulations – a bit late but still! Books are the most precious gifts, and reading to you as a child can not be over estimated. They know for certain that the baby can even hear you lying inside you.
    I too fulfilled my dreams when I had rread about a place as a child – Machu Pichtu and the mountains in Nepal and Tibet. Give your children dreams!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thanks Ann-Christine. How great that you have fulfilled your childhood dreams. I am sure you have given your children lots of dreams, as well. Do you have a favourite children’s book ,or one that you remember well from your childhood?

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thanks for your good wishes to Angela. 🙂 Brenda, I am sure you would enjoy some of the books mentioned in this post. Perhaps some of them will be in your local library.

      Reply
  3. Mrs. P

    How wonderful for Naomi. The world is a better place because of people like her. I loved her speech!

    Grrr…teachers who hurt children because they didn’t learn….how dare they!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Mrs P. The teacher in the next class up was vicious with her use of the blackboard duster and a ruler. I managed to avoid her punishments and to my great my relief was promoted to the next grade after only a few months in her class. In that class I had one of the best teachers ever; she wasn’t even a trained teacher but a nurse.

      Reply
  4. Steve Schwartzman

    I grew up in a house with thousands of books, and by the time I was a teenager I was adding more of my own. I’d often ride my bicycle three miles to the Salvation Army store where used items, including books, could be bought at low prices. After all these years I still have some of the books I bought there.

    That said, digitized books have some advantages over paper ones. For me probably the most important advantage is searchability, both in discovering that a book exists in the first place and in searching within a book for a word or phrase.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      The Salvation Army is still a great source for used books. 🙂 In my very early days, I don’t recall any book stores in town. How we came by books at that time I don’t know. I do remember the tremendous excitement created by the opening of our first library. I read my way through the children’s section quite quickly and then had to get my parent’s permission to start on the adult section! Digitized books do indeed have some advantages.

      Reply
  5. Juliet

    How precious it is to have been brought up with books. I was lucky enough to learn to read just before those awful Janet and John books replaced the wonderful Primers that we had before, full of stories of goblins, fairies and mythic creatures. I love Shaun Tan’s ‘The Arrival’, such a brilliant book and a delight to see it on your blog list.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Fortunately, the Janet and John readers occupied only a brief period in my reading development! Today, New Zealand children have access to a wonderful range of readers as well as many beautiful books by NZ authors. I expect you see a few of those books via your granddaughter.

      Reply
  6. shoreacres

    I enjoyed reading the article you linked about the history of the Janet and John readers. Clearly, they were of a piece with the Dick and Jane readers in my first grade classroom. I began first grade in 1951, and that’s exactly the time Janet and John were being introduced. I had to smile at this paragraph:

    The version specially published for New Zealand by Nisbet that same year had seven books instead of four, and introduced new words more gradually, with a maximum of three new words in every 50 running words. But the only distinctively New Zealand flavour added was one Māori legend placed in the seventh and final title in the series, “Once upon a time.”

    I wonder if Lawrence Durrell was on the committee that finally took that series in hand and spiced it up a bit? Of course he wasn’t, but it still was fun to find that detail, just as it was fun to find the article’s author also was jeered at for being able to spell, and for wearing glasses. I still remember the day I came home from school crying because I’d been called “four eyes.” My mother asked, “Well, do you have four eyes?” When I said no, of course I didn’t, she said, “Well, then. They’re the ones who can’t see.” These are the memories that stay with us.

    I was read to as a child, and I read well before starting school. There’s no question that it helped me in my class work. Now, I suspect it helped to form me as a person as well. My academic career was rocky at times, but I never lost my curiosity and love of learning.

    As for the editorial, it speaks to a multitude of situations. The next-to-last paragraph could just as well be speaking to the situation of our returning veterans as it did to war-weary people in 1944. We have failed our veterans, in my estimation, and their needs for “material remodelling and… mental reconstruction” are not being met.

    There was, however, a recent episode that warmed the hearts of a lot of people. Some Lowe’s home improvement store employees took upon themselves both the duty and privilege of helping out a vet. Here’s the story. It’s a little moment of sanity in the current chaos.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I find it interesting that once we imported reading ideas, such as Janet and John, and, now, we export reading materials and ideas. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10856682 Dame Wendy Pye, who no doubt had Janet and John at school, is a leader in this field.
      Your story about ‘four eyes’ reminded me about being taunted in high school, with this remark,”Boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses.” Apparently that is a misquote but, even so, it’s a taunt that puzzled me as a youngster and still puzzles me. In any case, I was much more concerned about being able to read what was on the blackboard than boys making passes, especially as boys were non-existent at our all girls school. 😀
      Yes, the editorial does speak to a multitude of situations and still has relevance today. Many governments seem to treat their veterans poorly, so it is always heartening when they are treated with the dignity they deserve.

      Reply
  7. Steve Schwartzman

    The editorial from 1944 was so hopeful, but it reminds me that within a few years large parts of the world went from the sufferings inflicted by one totalitarian regime, Nazism, to the sufferings inflicted by two more, Soviet Communism and Chinese Communism. My father and his family (parents, one brother) fled Soviet Communism in the 1920s and ended up in New York City. Without that flight, I wouldn’t be here writing this now.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      And sadly, sadly, the flights of people continue. I read that the world now has more refugees than it did at the end of World War 2; about 50 million. I don’t know what, if anything, Barbara wrote after 1944, but she became a woman of action; thoughtful action. All her life she worked to bring about better communities/ a better environment. She may have become disheartened at times at the state of the world, but I don’t believe she lost that lovely hopefulness of 1944. Whenever you met her she had a wonderful way of somehow making you want to be the best person you could possibly be
      Has anyone in your family written about their flight from Soviet Communism? Or is it just part of your oral history?

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          A poetic, and heart-wrenching, essay. And his words, like Barbara’s, are hopeful, too. Also interesting is the site; the School of Cooperative Individualism. May I ask if your father ever returned to Russia?

      1. Steve Schwartzman

        No, he never went back, though I think his brother (my uncle, who died recently) did visit one time. I remember asking my grandmother when she was old if she’d like to go back for a visit. She said she wouldn’t mind, and although she lived into her early 90s, it never happened.

        By natural inclination and from living in a totalitarian regime my father was strongly individualistic. He favored voluntary rather than forced collaboration.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Sometimes it’s too hard to go back; sometimes, it is a mistake to try and sometimes it can be the very thing that helps one to let go past experiences/lives and sometimes we simply don’t want to. It all depends on the individual. Sounds as though your father would have been very decisive about whether or not he wanted to go to Russia.

  8. womanseyeview

    Such a lovely post and sweet reminiscing. The start children can get through books is so special – I’ve been lucky to relive it once again with my granddaughter over the last 10 years. While the books of our youth were delightful the ones of today are so clever and often charmingly silly. Enjoyed your sister-in-laws remarks – thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      How lovely, indeed, to have had 10 years of reading with your granddaughter. I agree; children’s books today are beautiful. Do you have a particular favourite by a Canadian author?

      Reply
      1. womanseyeview

        Now that you’ve asked I must say it was an older book (1941) that we loved called Paddle to the Sea (American Author Holling C. Holling – she should have been Canadian!) about an Indian who carves a little boat with a figure inside and puts it into the Great Lakes … We then follow his journey to the Atlantic. For craziness though it’s hard not to beat anything by Canadian Robert Munsch!

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Paddle to the Sea looks like a wonderful story, (made in to a film too). I went to the Robert Munsch website and was highly entertained. What fun it must be to read his books, and to meet him, if one can. Despite the fun and craziness, it’s interesting that he wrote the best seller “Love you forever” which I read via this youtube clip. Very very moving. Thank you so much for telling me about these favourites of yours.

  9. diannegray

    A BIG congratulations to Angela – what a wonderful achievement (and Happy Birthday to her as well). Side note: Six degrees of separation here as my Mother and Father-in-law were also Australian Missionaries of the same era so there’s a big chance they probably knew Angela’s parents…

    I love the fact that you have kept your childhood books. My favourite was Pookie by Ivy Wallace 😀

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Oh, I actually felt like crying when I read your comment about Pookie. I had completely forgotten about Pookie. And I am sure I heard Pookie stories on the radio, too. I don’t know what happened to our Pookie books; perhaps my brother has them or they fell to pieces from too much reading. I didn’t know this at the time, but apparently Ivy’s illustrations of the natural world were very detailed and accurate http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1514475/Ivy-Wallace.html Ah, what lovely memories; thank you.
      And thank you for your congratulations to Angela. Are you able to tell me where your in-laws were missionaries?

      Reply
      1. diannegray

        They studied bible school in Sydney and then went to an aboriginal mission (where my hubby grew up) in WA. I’m sure they are friends with the community of missionaries from that time and they know people who worked in Fiji and PNG from the 50’s to the 90’s.

        I don’t have my Pookie books and have no idea where they ended up, but I just loved Pookie! 😀

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          I like your expression “community of missionaries”. My family were not missionaries but missionaries were very much a part of the fabric of my life in Fiji. If your in-laws are interested (or aware enough? ) they may be interested in the link I gave under the word East; there is a little bit there about missionary work in Fiji. The parents of the author Mem Fox were missionaries. She wrote an interesting account of their life in Rhodesia/ Zimbabwe in her autobiography, Mem’s the Word.

  10. utesmile

    Reading is one of the best past times there is. I love reading too and wished I had more time to sit in a corner and read my books on the waiting list! With you showing your first book i remember I have a book here I had as a child / a Christmassy book which I loved to bits as a teddy was in the story and it had a beautiful ending, that I always cried a bit. I got this book in my home now and will treasure it. My family had lots of books and some are almost 200 years old…. a real treasure.
    I love that beach picture… so empty… fantastic.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      How lovely to have such old books in your family; imagine how many in your family have read them and held them. Your special Christmassy book sounds really special. Will you show us one day?

      Reply
  11. Tiny

    Dear Gallivanta – this is a wonderful and very enjoyable post. A great gift to your sister-in-law! I am also impressed by Barbara’s writing in 1944! And what an adorable picture of you…busy with you reading readiness activities!! Btw, you don’t need to be offended any more…we all know you recognize he word for “woof” by now 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, I am sure Bumble and I could have a lovely conversation of barks and woofs. 😀 I think Barbara’s words in 1944 are superb. She was just a young teenager, yet the editorial is so well written and displays such wisdom. And, also, given our present post-earthquake situation, they gave me a certain measure of hope about renewal and regeneration.

      Reply
  12. still a dreamer

    Hi there, I’ve been sent (linked) over by Cynthia, another fellow writer. Reading as children is so important, not just in our future academic life but in the depths of what we can feel in so many ways. I was read to constantly as a child and am so, so grateful for that as I entered school truly able to easily grasp so much of what was taught, but moreover, my already (over) active imagination was helped to soar. I have no doubt that our present day creativity has been nurtured by childhood reading. Great post!
    Jeanne

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Welcome Jeanne, friend of Cynthia 🙂 I am grateful, too, for all the stories that were read to me; and the ones I listened to on the radio and the gramophone. I am also very grateful for both the free play time I had and the more structured playtime. It all made early school years so easy.

      Reply
  13. Mary

    Books are immediate and yet can take us to a whole another world using our imaginations – so wonderful that you had such gifts of love as a child.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Books are so large in comparison to their size ;). Recently a friend told me that when she was in a small village school in the Pacific she read about Alaska. She determined that she would visit Alaska one day. This year, some 4 decades later, she achieved her childhood dream. Isn’t that a great story?

      Reply
  14. KerryCan

    This is a wonderful post, on so many levels! The way you brought the elements together–the love of reading, your family connections, the family photos–all of it comes together beautifully. I guess your Janet and John were the equivalent of our Dick and Jane–goody two shoes, with a dog named Spot. And yet, they opened marvelous doors to more interesting and inspiring characters!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Kerry. I am pleased you thought everything came together; I do go off on strange tangents sometimes and then wonder if I make sense anymore. 🙂 Yes our Janet and John were your Dick and Jane. Although I didn’t like the books I don’t think they hindered my reading. If anything I wanted to finish them quickly so I could move on to other books. Some schools/people don’t agree with readers/reading schemes, preferring a literature based approach to reading, but I can see that readers have a place; just as long as they are not the only books available!

      Reply
  15. restlessjo

    I want to ‘open the door’, Ann, and I know that your bark will be worse than your bite 🙂
    I can’t imagine life without all those squiggles on a page!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      The Open the Door book is the cutest little book. And, yes, my bite is toothless, and I am not much of a bark -er either. 😦
      I, also, can’t imagine life without books and squiggles. Unfortunately, that is the reality for some people.

      Reply
  16. LaVagabonde

    It’s wonderful that you still have your books from childhood. What treasures. I still have my favorite, the one my mother read to us every night, but it’s in pretty bad condition.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      One of the lovely aspects of having a collection of children’s books that range from about 1920 to about 1995 is that I do get to see the changes in subject and style. I am not very up to date with recent children’s books, though, as I only get to see them in reviews, or during brief stops in the bookshop or library. Sometimes, I feel I am missing out on the good stuff of life. 😉

      Reply
  17. Clanmother

    I received a quote via Facebook which said – “A child who reads will be an adult who thinks.” Seems to me that you exemplify this idea! I love how you celebrate your family and friends.

    Reply
      1. Mélanie

        I did know that quote and it’s sooo true and pure common sense – everywhere… as all “evils” spring out of ignorance = lack/gap/absence of knowledge, so quite impossible to understand and to relate to other people, cultures, civilisations, etc… Thanx, Miss Becky! 🙂
        * * *
        N.B. ❤ wonderful and nostalgic post, Miss G… I could read at 4 and I've continued to "devour" books ever since in 3-4-5 languages… 🙂

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          My daughter could read at 4 but I was a slower learner. I didn’t read till I was five ,at least. You have wonderful language skills. I see it in your free translations of so many poems. Were you read to a great deal? Or did you work out reading by yourself?

      2. Mélanie

        thanx for your kind words, Miss G… ❤

        I was the only child, but my both parents(RIP) worked and didn't have time to read to me, but they did "push"(encourage!) me to read as much as possible… so, I did work out reading by myself, my nickname was "souris de bibliothèque"(library little mouse)… Romanian was my 1st, language, then French and English, Italian and Spanish went without saying, as they're both Latin languages like Romanian and French… My hubby and our 2 kids are also "polyglots", we all like to switch from one language to another, but our son beats us all: he speaks and writes Chinese & Japanese – FLUENTLY! 🙂

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Miss M, I can’t imagine you were ever a mouse, but I still love the image of you as the little mouse of the library. ( There was no library in our town till I was about 10)
          You are fortunate to be a family of ‘polyglots’….the conversations in your home must be wonderful to listen to, even for someone like me who wouldn’t understand even a quarter of what you were saying….the sounds of all the different languages would be delightful on the ear.
          One of the most accomplished polyglots in the history of the world, to date, was a New Zealander, Harold Williams. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Williams_%28linguist%29
          Unfortunately, most New Zealanders don’t follow in his footsteps! We are a very poor linguists. Shameful, really.

      3. Mélanie

        it’s like at the UNO or “Ligue des Nations” and the truth is that we all like “to juggle” with languages and invent puns… 🙂 I’ll check out your link asap, I wonder if the guy could speak and write Icelandic, considered to be THE most difficult language on earth, as it’s the old Norwegian spoken during the Middle Ages…(hopefully, English is the 2nd language in Iceland and we met Icelandic 1st grade kids who spoke it quite well…)
        * * *
        oh, English native speakers do NOT need and aren’t interested in learning another language because English has “dominated” the planet these past 50 years and it’s spoken all over the world which has always “fitted”(suited) us… 🙂

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Well, maybe we THINK we don’t NEED to but it would broaden our outlook and improve our minds and possibly help prevent dementia. And how sad it is that Maori is struggling as a language and yet we don’t make it compulsory at school.

        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Perhaps he didn’t live long enough to learn Icelandic! Looking through a list of polyglots I can’t see anyone who learned Icelandic, though Basque features a few times. I was interested to learn that your French poet, Rimbaud, was considered a polyglot mastering Latin, Ancient and Modern Greek, English, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Dutch, Arabic, Hindi, Amharic, as well as developing a working knowledge of several native African languages while living in Ethiopia.

      4. Mélanie

        Arthur Rimbaud has been a genius, a titan of the world’s literature, like Baudelaire… to really appreciate their work, one needs to read them in French, of course as THE best translations can’t express and convey the author’s spirit…
        * * *
        so sad, unfair and outrageous about Maori language… 😦 NZ and Australia have always been THEIR land, like America that belongs to its natives… who cares about all these human tragedies?!… – rhetorical question, hélas!

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          I expect I did read some Rimbaud in French classes but my French probably wasn’t good enough to really appreciate his genius. 😦

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Lavinia. It’s interesting that we seem to be the only ones on the beach!
      I am not surprised that you grew up with a lot of books; your life, as told in your blog, tells me as much. 🙂 I think Clanmother’s quote applies to you, “A child who reads will be an adult who thinks.”

      Reply
  18. Joanne Jamis Cain

    I wish I remembered more of my own early books of childhood but I only seem to remember later ones. Little Women and the Story of Helen Keller were a couple of my favorites.
    I do remember many more of the books my children loved- mostly Dr. Seuss which I read to them almost every night. There was an alphabet book of his from A to Z . The “Y” was my favorite-
    “Yawning Yellow Yak. Young Yolanda Yorgensen was Yelling on his back”
    (love it!)

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I remember reading Dr Seuss to my little sister and, later, to my children. So much fun. I am sure the only reason I remember my early childhood books is because my mother kept them. And I have kept my children’s books, too. I still love reading and re-reading them all.

      Reply
  19. YellowCable

    It is amazing that you still have the very first books you read till today. I like the young Gallivanta reading readiness activity on the peach. Look like lots more fun than reading a book.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      The books aren’t in very good condition, YC, but at least I still have them. My siblings have some of the other books we read as children. The photo of me at the beach makes me laugh. I can imagine the difficulty my mother had getting all that fine black sand off me. Did you see my mother’s shoes? 😉

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Indeed. I think the visit to the beach was probably impromptu; a way to get some energy out of the young Gallivanta after visiting relatives.

  20. Just Add Attitude

    You are so lucky to have grown up in a house full of books and where reading was valued. It’s so sad that so many children are not encouraged to read and explore literature.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I was very fortunate. Books at home and also at school where there were teachers who were passionate about reading to us from the very best of children’s literature.
      I think we could do more to bring books to children when they are very young. I don’t know if this is still done anywhere, but I remember that when I took my baby along to our local library in the US, he was given a free book, the classic, Goodnight Moon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goodnight_Moon I thought that was a brilliant idea; and we still have the book. It is a treasure.

      Reply
  21. thecontentedcrafter

    Dear Gallivanta, what a lovely paean of praise for your sister-in-law! I concur with her final sentence – I taught for more than 20 years and saw that concept first hand. A parent with a love of books begets a love of reading in the child. I don’t remember learning to read, but I do remember the Janet and John books with their carefully presented correct roles and sanitised family. 🙂 Back then I loved them. Another pointer at how times have changed 🙂

    Reply
  22. Cynthia Reyes

    What a truly wonderful post.
    Books are so important to young children in small communities especially. As they were for you, Angela and so many others.

    I relate to every word you wrote.

    I read your post after a conversation with three other women, American and Canadian, with roots in the Caribbean. We talked about a school way up in the mountains of Jamaica whose very young students are in need of some early readers’ books. And then I read your post, just a few hours later, about the early readers’ books that had an impact on you and Angela.

    Thanks to you and congrats to Angela.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Cynthia. I am glad our thoughts and conversations have coincided. So many communities need books for their young ones. The problem is not so much collecting/sourcing the books required, but getting them to where they are needed; transportation costs, delays, taxes etc etc. I am sure you know that story well.
      Some groups have come up with e-reader based alternatives eg http://www.worldreader.org/about-us/mediaroom/in-the-news/ which are great but not quite the same as having real paper books. I also wonder if e- readers are as environmentally friendly as books. I doubt they have as long a shelf life. I have a book that is nearly 150 years old and still readable . I can’t imagine an e-reader, or my laptop, being much use to anyone in 150 years. I hope there is some way the little school you mention can get some early readers.

      Reply

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