Last weekend my parents picked us up in Brooklyn and drove us to our annual Brooklyn Boys holiday party in NJ. My sister and her husband couldn’t make it, so my parents brought my niece (Monique) and nephew (Zach) along all the way from NH. So it was all six of us – packed in the car for the hour and a half car ride to NJ. Adam was in the way back next to Zach and I was in the middle seat next to Monique – my parents in the front. Of course – as is typical in cars that drive around small children, the seat was filled with activities… books, markers, games, etc. As I sorted through the pile I noticed two books from my own childhood – A Light In the Attic and Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. I picked up Where The Sidewalk Ends and instantly found my old favorite poems… remember these?
We spent the entire car ride reading Shel Silverstein poems aloud. It was so much fun! I remember going on long car trips with my family when I was little (before there were TV’s and iPhones to distract). We used to take eight hour drives to Buffalo to visit my grandparents and we would play games like “I’m going on a picnic” (do you know that game?) and we would read poems and try to memorize them. Those are such happy memories for me. I feel like that time spent in the car turned me into the lover of driving I am today. I LOVE road trips! It also made me think about car trips with my future little family. I know iphones are great and all for distracting the kids when you need some quiet… but I’ll always cherish that family time we spent together in the car and I want to try to re-create that with my own family.
Oh and a shout out to Shel Silverstein. He rules. His poems and illustrations are so simple, clever and whimsical. Have I mentioned that one item on my list of things I’d like to accomplish in my life is writing a children’s book? I think I’ll wait for inspiration from this little dude in my belly. But in the meantime, Shel’s pretty good inspiration as well. Taking this little trip back in time with these books made me want to go re-discover more of my old favorite childhood books. Here are some I remember best:
- The entire Wizard of Oz series - (I’ve recently hooked Monique on these – she’s reading them with her dad)
- The Pokey Little Puppy
- Are You My Mother?
- Alexander And the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
- Good Night Moon
- A Special Trade (I think the girl’s name in this book was Nell… if I remember correctly… and this book contains the quote “Don’t be saddish, have a radish.” - I still think of that quote today.
- The Giving Tree
- Mother Mother I Want Another
What are some of your favorite children’s books? I need to start up a collection of quality stuff!