Sunday, December 16, 2007

Gifts To Fill the Holiday Nights

As I said in my comment on Tina's Monday post, I heard a new tradition myself this holiday season--on the radio, no less. It's designed for the 12 days of Christmas (Christian), but can just as easily be applied to the 8 nights of Hanukkah (Jewish), the 7 days of Kwanzaa (African), the 8 days of Rohatsu (Buddhist), the 30 days of Ramadan (Islam), or the 1 night of Yule (man, pagans get screwed here). It is a tradition for households with children still young enough for story time, and here it is:

On each day of the celebration the parents give the child the gift of a book that will, in turn, be read that night at story time.

What a wonderful way to: a) bring families closer together, and b) encourage young children to become readers. The books aren't necessarily expensive. In research for this post, I visited the children's section at my local Barnes & Noble and found some of my old favorites (yes, they're still in print) for just $3.99 each.

Speaking of my favorites, I thought I'd throw out a list of titles or series that still speak to me after all these years. Maybe they'd be a place to start if you're thinking about implementing this tradition this year. (FYI--the 12 days of Christmas begins on Christmas day and runs through Epiphany on January 6.)

1. The Berenstain Bears -- Oh how I loved these books! My favorite titles were Berenstain Bears Go To School, Berenstain Bears in the Dark, and The Berenstain Bears' New Baby.

2. Little Golden Books -- There are more titles in this classic collection than I could ever hope to think of, but I loved everything about these books: their hard covers, their little gold spines, and, of course, the great stories. If I had to name faves, I'd pick The Poky Little Puppy, Scruffy the Tugboat, and Cinderella. But my absolute all-time most loved was The Bunny Book. So you understand why, here's the blurb:

A daddy bunny plays with his baby bunny and says, “What will our baby be when he grows up?” Everyone, from the baby’s mother to big sister to Great Aunt Bunny, seems to know: a clown, a policeman, a candy store owner. But the baby only nibbles on his carrot and looks wise . . . for he knows he will grow up to be a nice daddy bunny!

3. Dr. Seuss -- The master of rhyme, Dr. Seuss books are fun. There's no way in hades I could choose just one. My picks: The Cat in the Hat (classic), One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (crazy fun), and The Lorax (timely).

4. Little Critter -- The little critter in question is a weird-looking, gerbil-meets-porcupine looking kid, but I loved him. My faves were The New Baby and What a Bad Dream.

5. Curious George -- As a child, I loved this series so much my nickname was George. Seriously. Until I was like ten everyone called me George. They're all great, but you can't go wrong with the classic original, Curious George.

There are other favorite childhood reads that I didn't have time to list in detail. Babar, Disney Books, anything by Richard Scarry, Corduroy, and everything by Shel Silversteing (especially The Giving Tree).

In honor of this new tradition, I'm giving away a copy of CURIOUS GEORGE. If you want a chance to win, just comment with your favorite childhood read and any other titles you'd add to the list this holiday season.

OH. MY. GODS. (Dutton) May 2008
Pre-order from Amazon now (and save 32%!)


stephhale said...

What a wonderful tradition! I read to my boys every night and we pretty much get new books every week (it's a sickness). We love anything by Sandra Boynton, Eric Carle, and many others. Our current favorite is Snowmen at Christmas. The boys are convinced that our huge blowup snowman takes off after they are asleep to have his own Christmas celebration with other snowmen, just like the story.
When I was young I remember being quite fond of Pippi Longstocking. :)

Anonymous said...

Nice tradition, we dont have that here. The childhood read i have the most fond memories of is the dutch book series of Sanne and the talking had (Sanne is the girls main character of the book) one day she gets a gift and that is a lovely red hat. But she discovers something..
When she puts the hat on she can talk with animals! It is a serie that makes kids aware of environmental and animal related issues and that you have to treat animals good and to help them if it is needed.
here you can see a picture of the first book i read of this serie: it is called ''the talking hat; a monkey in the classroom!''
(sanne and her class are going on a trip to the zoo, and there a little monkey sneaks in sannes backpack..

This was the first book i read of this serie, i get it for my 7th birthday from my aunt. ;)

Colleen Thompson said...

You've mentioned so many old favorites, both books I've loved and those I've loved reading to my son. Curious George rules! As well as the Very Hungry Caterpillar, Goodnight Moon, and our holiday fave, The Polar Express. (The book, not the movie.)

Thanks for sharing.

Kimberly Frost said...


I loved Curious George, and so many things I read when I was. My aunt gave my brothers and me a series of hard cover editions of several classics. I remember loving Stuart Little and The Lion, The Witch, & the Wardrobe.