As most parents will tell you, one of the great joys of raising children is the time spent reading to and with them, a daily experience that reveals in incremental detail the expanding horizons of their delightfully pliable minds. My son, Asa (3 1/2), has always been an attentive storytime listener. It’s been endlessly fascinating to see the development of his love of books, and I can’t wait for it to continue throughout his childhood and adolescence.
In addition to watching him discover books on his own, I have had the privilege of sharing some of my childhood favorites with him, including such classics as Goodnight Moon, Where the Wild Things Are, Stone Soup, The Knight and the Dragon, The Giving Tree, Harold and the Purple Crayon, much of the Dr. Seuss, P.D. Eastman, and Mo Willems libraries, all things Curious George, and nearly any story that features dinosaurs, dragons, and/or big cats (tigers and jaguars are Asa’s current top choices).
Asa has also taken to some lesser-known gems, many of which remain in regular rotation—e.g., Rachel Bright’s Love Monster, Yuki Kaneko’s Into the Snow (illus. by Masamitsu Saito), Linda Ashman’s Rock-a-Bye Romp (illus. by Simona Mulazzani), Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman’s Bear Snores On, and Milisava Petković’s Snowy: A Leopard of the High Mountains (illus. by Xuan Loc Xuan).
Soon, I hope to introduce him to one of my all-time favorites, Holling C. Holling’s Paddle to the Sea. In our starred 1941 review, we wrote, “as a unified whole, the book stands out as probably the most beautiful book of the year, with the additional factor of educational value….Don't miss it.” Indeed. Paddle to the Sea is sure to be just one of the many milestone books I can share with Asa as he matures, strengthening our bond through the evergreen power of literature. Eric Liebetrau is the nonfiction and managing editor.