I have always loved books, loved reading, loved being read to. I can’t remember a time of my life when there weren’t books there, nearby, calling me to them.
When I was born my grandfather gave me a book. In it, the little mouse had the same name as the nickname my family had given me. There’s something special that happens in the mind of a child when they feel connected to a character in a book. Even today, I will pull out that book and feel connected to the grandfather I barely knew.
My mom said I learned to read at 18 months of age. As crazy as that sounds, you first need to realize that I was the first-born of an English teacher. There was no way I would not be a reader.
When Mom realized I was reading the canned food labels as I sat on the kitchen counter, she told people I was reading. They immediately dismissed it as my recognizing the pictures of the foods. To address those naysayers, my mother had a test. Having 100% faith in my reading skills Mom removed the labels from all the canned goods in the house and wrote the names of the foods on them with a black pen. Yes, I could still read them.
Soon afterward, I wanted my own books. My mom was concerned about me tearing up her books so she collected a bunch of old magazines and stacked them up for me next to her bookshelves. Those were my books. Much to her surprise, instead of shredding them, I would sit contentedly and carefully turn each page.
By kindergarten I made such quick work of their little library that the teacher had to ask my mom to supply me with books from the local library to bring for reading time, as I had already read their selection so many times I was bored.
Books meant the undivided attention of my parents after my sisters were asleep. I would grab a book, tuck myself under the arm of my mom or dad, and lived for making them smile because I knew how to read all the words.