Summer is here, summer is here! Do you remember when that last bell would ring and you would bolt out of that class room like your pants were on fire? Summer was a time of rest, and relaxation and the summer reading program at the Webster parish library. I had the inside track on that program since my mama was a librarian. She would pick out the books and I would read, read and read some more!
I’m glad that I was introduced to reading at such a young age. My mama read to me from the time I was born. My favorite night time story was “The Velveteen Rabbit”. My mama would read this story almost every night. Anyone that knows this story knows that to read this long story every night was a chore. I think it has given me a great love of books and when you see and old book that you read as a young child you just have the urge to buy it. You want to give it to a young person so that they will have that same experience that you had when you read it so many years ago. I remember reading “Bambi”, and “Bambi Grows Up”. Not the cut down Disney version but the Felix Salten version. “Old Yeller” and “Where the Red Fern Grows” were also favorites. Later it would be the “Lord of the Rings” and all those that followed.
I still collect books. I have a collection of “Oz” books by L. Frank Baum. Most folks don’t realize that there are forty books in this series. The first book was published in 1900 under the name “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. The last to be written by Baum is titled “Glinda of Oz” which was written in 1920. The series would be picked up later by other authors all the way until 1963. It is the early books that I love. They have the most beautiful pictures and the stories are so alive.
I know that much controversy has been stirred up about the “Harry Potter” books because of the witch craft that is used. But how many childhood books have been centered on witches, fairies, and goblins? Most of the ones that I grew up with all had a witch or a fairy in them. I was happy to see my niece reading such big books at the age of eight. She loves them and reads them front to back. How many of you remember the feeling of being transported to the place that you were reading about. If it can take them away from watching TV or the computer I’m all for it.
The highlight of the summer reading program back then was the Rex Theater. After you had all your marks on the board at the library you were treated to a day at the Rex. You received a summer reading certificate and got to enjoy the movies all day long. I recently got the chance to purchase a set of Rex Theater seats. Yes I came home and sat in them. They now have a place in my living room. The Rex was magical to me and the summer reading program was just as exciting.
If you have a young child I urge you to encourage them to read. Take them to the library and enroll them in the summer reading program. They may protest at first but if you can get them to read one good book in a series they will be hooked. “Nancy Drew” and the ‘Hardy Boys” are still out there waiting for you!
I would like to thank my mama for making me read. I would probably not be writing these stories for all of you to read, had it not been for the summer reading program and my mama. So this summer pick up a book and gets your kids one too while you’re at it! Be transported it is the cheapest way to take a vacation!