Larry Bernstein discusses his family’s love for reading and how he was recently able to share one of his favorite childhood books with his son.
I love reading. This love was surely passed down as my mother also loves reading. However, when I was growing up, I dreaded when my mom was engaged with a book. No, I did not begrudge her having some “me” time. However, my mother had a hard time saying no to books. Dinner would be late, homework help not forthcoming, clothes not laundered, and the bathroom door was locked for long periods when my mother absorbed her latest read. Yes, she loved to escape into a book.
My wife started reading to our children when they were only weeks old, and both our children love reading as well. My older son, in particular, is an avid reader. It is a pleasure to hear him read as he reads with great expression. My wife will read with him before bed and when she leaves, he will continue on his own. While he and I are pals, he doesn’t like to have me put him to bed. “He always falls asleep,” he complains. I’d like to argue with him, but he is correct. I rarely finish even one book or chapter before falling asleep. So, when I put him to bed, he gets cheated out of his reading time.
I recently took my children to the library. The local libraries are very good and often serve as a destination for my family and I. They have toys for the children to play with and, of course, they fit into the budget. Anyway, on this recent trip, while the boys were playing at a train table, I picked out books for them. Between my love of reading and being an English teacher, I put a lot into the selection process. I want the books to be challenging, fun, and include lessons or morals. I know that is a lot to ask for, but I am talking about an ideal. Generally, I flip through the books, read a couple of pages, and, if they seem good, I will pick them out. Ultimately, I want the children to enjoy the books in order to enhance their love of reading. I look at this process as an investment in their future. Reading will help them in so many ways as they get older. Anyway, while scanning the shelves, I came across an author, Matt Christopher.
I think I was one of the few third graders in my school when I was young who actually had a favorite author and that author was Matt Christopher. Truth be told, he may have been the only author whose name I knew, but that is beside the point. His books were simple: boys and sports and a moral makes three. I loved reading his books. So, when I saw a stack of Mr. Christopher’s books on the shelf, I had to get one. I ended up getting his first kids book—The Lucky Baseball Bat, which came out in 1954. After two readings, my son and I are up to chapter 10. I have not fallen asleep while reading—yes, I am proud.
It is already clear that my sons have the love of reading. The fact that we are reading a book that I read as a child—well, that makes me smile. Now, I just have to make sure I still get dinner ready on time.