Sunday, May 15, 2011

Writers' Round Table

We are a group of children’s writers brought together by our passion for books. All writers have at least one thing in common: they began as readers. Today, each of us is digging down --way down--to our earliest reading memory.

Brian: The first book I remember reading is Frog and Toad are Friends. I reached a word I wasn’t familiar with and asked my mom for help. She told me to sound it out. To my amazement, I was able to sound out the word – jump! That was the moment I realized that I could read by myself and set sail on my own adventures whenever I opened the cover of a book!

Lana: The first book I remember reading all by myself was called The Mouse Book. The photographs drew me in-- a real mouse looking for a house. Like all great early readers, this book had a predictable pattern that repeated. “Is this a good house? No, it’s too cold. Is this a good house? No, it’s too hot.” I was so proud to be able to read the words without any help! Many years later, adult me was looking through a stack of books that the library was getting rid of and guess what I found! My beloved mouse book. What a treasure!

Hazel: My earliest memory about reading is more about looking than reading. This possibly hinted at my life-long interest in art and image-making. The book in question was an English language translation of Japanese folk tales, illustrated with wood-cut prints. The colors were muted by today’s standards. But the expressiveness of the lines imbued the characters with personality and the images flowed beautifully alongside the text. The understanding that illustrations could blend, enhance and expand on the stories I listened to, and then learned to read by myself, opened a doorway for me. I realized that I could “graduate” to books that were all text and still supply a rich visual adventure by using my imagination. I have loved “seeing” stories as well as reading them, ever since.

Pat: Two books fed my appetite for words during my earliest years.  One, a fat tome of fairy tales, was the first book I read, sort of.  I devoured pictures of princesses, elves, woodland creatures, and the heroes who saved them from the nasty ogres with their fat lips and snarling teeth.  As Mom read to us, the pictures and words interwoven on the same pages lured me into the possibility of reading on my own.  This need to read was further encouraged by The World Book (well, that series of books).  We three kids traced with our fingers pictures and words of animals, costumes, and other fascinating subjects.   Again, words and pictures together lured us into the world of reading. 
Care to share? We’d love to hear about your earliest reading experience. Leave a comment and tell us about it!


  1. I adored my Madeline book given to me by my favorite babysitter. I memorized it pretty quickly and read it to all of my stuffed animals.


  2. Ah yes, Madeline. Many good memories there. Lucky stuffed animals!