I have always loved reading. We used to have loads of books in the playroom when we were little. I even started a library when I was 11!
While I was at (primary (or Elementary, since it was American)) school, the rest of the children would be outside playing ‘Four Square’, ‘Wall Ball’ or on the ‘Big Toy’ and I would be in the library. Either reading or helping the librarian stack shelves. I know – I shouldn’t even admit it *embarrassed*. But it was too hot outside and I was much happier indoors with air conditioning. Not to mention my immense dislike for actually moving and getting all sweaty!
At secondary school (boarding) I used to hide whatever I was reading under the desk and read during lesson time. Mostly Sweet Valley High and then later Mills & Boon!
When I started my Teaching Studies degree, we had Children’s Literature modules. And many other modules focused on children’s books (Mostly Key Stage 1, as it was my chosen age-range). There were discussions about our favourite books when we were children, compare and contrast essays to write and character profiles to make.
But something was wrong.
I did not know ANY of the books that they were talking about! I had never heard of ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’, ‘Farmer Duck’ or ‘Hairy Maclary’. All the books I knew were by American authors (and I can’t even remember any of them now. Apart from The Berenstein Bears.)
And I couldn’t even check which books we had at home, because once we all went to the UK, my mum gave all the children’s books away. The only ones I found were these:
That was when I decided that I would start building up my own collection of children’s books. They would help me through university, my classroom years and I would keep them for my own children.
And so it started. I would go to the local library every few weeks and buy their old books for 20p or 30p. I spent hours and hours in Waterstones, Dillons, Borders and Foyles (oh, how I love Foyles). There was also a shop in Covent Garden called The Banana Bookshop – I bought a Big Book of ‘Dogger’ by Shirley Hughes (and many others) there for £2.50. And I continued doing this during the four years I taught in London.
I was at a small independent school near Regent’s Park and it wasn’t particularly well-resourced. So when I needed a book for Literacy, or any other subject, I would go out and buy it. And then keep it! I did the same for all the books on the Year 2 Sats reading list.
Once I left London, it was getting a little more difficult to buy them. Only because they were heavy to bring back to Lagos. I am the queen of excess luggage, so a few books probably won’t have made a difference, actually…
Today, I went through all the books. Jesus, there are a LOT of them!
Please ignore pink tiles on floor (don’t ask!).
There was still another shelf filled with books – but half-way through taking all these down I realised I’d have to put them all back!
I feel sad that I haven’t bought any books in a long time – apart from board books and those taggie things. Maybe I should start ordering some more on Amazon…
I hope V develops a love for reading as I have. And I can’t wait to share all these books with him!