There is a stack of books, over a foot high, towering on my bedside table. The books are ones that have been recommended to me by friends or bookshop owners, or that jumped out at me (and into my shopping cart) while I was passing by my favorite book sellers. I look at the stack longingly each weeknight as I fall into my bed without the fortitude to actually pick one up until the weekend comes. They are sitting there, full of stories to experience and they lay in wait until I have the luxury of time to pick the next one up and devour it the way we book-lovers do.
As adults, many of us know that a book is a vehicle of wonder that carries us to new and exciting places, opens our eyes to cultures we haven’t experienced and joys or sorrows through the eyes of another. They awaken us, stretch us, and help us to see ourselves and our world differently, or they help us imagine worlds that scarcely exist. A book can be an agent of change, a window to another dimension, a comforting companion and so much more. Those of us who know this, feel compelled to share it with our loved ones, because of the gift that reading is to us.
As a mother and an educator, it is my delight and challenge to help children discover the joy of becoming lifelong readers, to help them grow in fluency and comprehension, and most importantly to help them unlock the secret joys of literacy. One of the “tricks of the trade” is to help children connect reading with positive experiences of joy, closeness, silliness, fun. It’s important to treat reading as the privilege and luxury that it is rather than as a chore or something to cross of our to-do list. The easiest way to do this is to grab a cozy spot and simply curl up together and crack a book open and enjoy it together. However, some stories inspire us to do something more with it- to extend the reading experience and turn it into an even more memorable connection. This “For The Love Of Reading” series will highlight books that inspired such experiences in our home, and I hope you’ll share some of your favorite books and book-inspired experiences with us as well!
Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast is one of those stories that just begs to be brought to life. When I first brought the book home from one of our favorite local book stores: Aaron’s Books in Lititz. I kept it hidden away until the right occasion. When the time was right, I announced to the family that we were having breakfast for dinner (always a welcome flip-flop). As we sat around our breakfast feast, we passed the book around so every member of the family took a turn reading a page between bites of pancakes, waffles, and bacon, and passing it around until the story was complete. We giggled and gasped our way through the story and our breakfast and now this book has earned prime real estate on the bedtime story bookshelf for years to come. How about gifting this book to a family with a gift card to your favorite local brunch spot or your family’s favorite breakfast recipe or a bottle of local maple syrup? Author, Josh Funk did a marvelous job of bringing fun and whimsy to the breakfast bunch that kids of all ages are sure to find delicious.
Amongst the hustle and bustle of work and family life, I came away from this story with a delectable, metaphorical reminder as well: That although the big picture of my world is warm and gooey and delicious, sometimes the waffle of my life needs to be savored one tiny sweetness filled square at a time. The square I’m in when I’m reading with my children deserves all of my focus and attention for them and for me too, with or without the bells and whistles. Happy Reading Friends!