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ON FAMILY : A Love Affair : Like a Fine Heirloom, the Joys of Reading Pass Down the Line

June 07, 1990|MAUREEN BROWN

One of the hidden advantages of parenting is being able to immerse oneself once again in children's literature. There is a never-ending publication of storybooks, often with brilliant illustrations. I have never found it arduous to hold the attention of a child on my lap with a good picture book. Enticing an older reader frequently becomes more of a challenge. If, indeed, books are to be shared, reading along with a child can be fruitful. On occasion, to encourage a reluctant reader, I have checked out two copies of the same book and read it at the same time.

This year, my 10-year-old daughter introduced me to an outstanding author, Katherine Paterson, who wrote "The Bridge to Tarabithia" and "The Great Gilly Hopkins." Children's librarians can be a tremendous source in suggesting books that will captivate the child with a curiosity about science fiction, mysteries, science, Westerns and history.

There is a memorable passage from "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" about Francie's initiation to reading:

"From that time on, the world was hers for the reading. She would never be lonely again, never miss the lack of intimate friends. Books became her friends and there was one for every mood. There was poetry for quiet companionship. There was adventure when she tired of quiet hours. There would be love stories when she came into adolescence and when she wanted to feel a closeness to someone she could read a biography. On that day, when she first knew she could read, she made a vow to read one book a day as long as she lived."

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