Falling in Love with Children’s Books as an Adult
I’m a children’s book author who did not like to read as a kid. That’s like a professional soccer player saying she did not like to run as a child. The reason for my early dislike of reading isn’t completely clear. Maybe it was because we didn’t have a lot of books in the house—just a few Golden Books. Or maybe it was because reading didn’t come easily. It was hard work.
I can clearly remember sitting in my fourth grade classroom. I was supposed to be reading How to Eat Fried Worms. But instead of reading the words on the page, I counted them. One, two, three, four… two-hundred fourteen. Turn the page.
Sometimes I read the assigned books. Sometimes I faked it. The results weren’t awful. Teachers often commented that I was excellent in math but needed to work harder in language arts. Math was easy for me—at least until Calculus III in college.
By high school, I had to read the books, though I did use Cliff Notes when available. I never read for pleasure. I couldn’t imagine reading being a fun activity, not when I could watch TV or play basketball. Then, when I was seventeen, I severely sprained my ankle and was stuck on the couch with my foot elevated for weeks. My dad gave me Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. I loved it! I went from never reading a book that wasn’t homework, to a thousand-page tome.
That was it. That was when I fell in love with stories. Unfortunately, I missed an entire childhood of books. But now I’m a mother of three, and I’ve been given a second chance. Through my children, I have fallen in love with picture books from Dr. Seuss to Mo Willems. We’ve discovered chapter book heroes like Junie B. Jones and Fudge. And lately I’ve been struggling to keep up with my eldest as she pounds through middle grade and young adult.
One of my children could have been described as a reluctant reader. She would look at the densely packed words on the page of age-appropriate books and give up. Sometimes she’d even cry. So we encouraged to her keep reading picture books. We found non-fiction books with plenty of pictures. We introduced her to graphic novels. It was a long process, but she no longer judges a book by its word layout.
I wish I had discovered a love of books as a child. I’m blessed that I eventually did as an adult. I’m so excited when I meet kids now who love books. But there is a special place in my heart for the kids who don’t. I tell them that reading isn’t always easy, but the books that await them make it all worthwhile.
The Thin(ish) Mint
Visit http://stacymcanulty.blogspot.com/ for the recipe.
About Stacy McAanulty
Stacy’s debut picture book, DEAR SANTASAURUS (Boyds Mills Press, 2013), is now available. She loves books, dinosaurs, cookies, and writing letters. She lives in North Carolina with her 3 kids, 2 dogs, and 1 husband. For more information, please drop by her website www.stacymcanulty.com.