It's birthday season at our house--all of our birthdays come in a two month span--which always leads to a lot of nostalgia around here. My kids love to look at pics of themselves and fondly recall past birthday parties, old friends and treasured gifts.
It started me thinking about the treasures of my own youth. There were a few toys that I loved--my ice skates and Fashion Plates come to mind. :-) But my most treasured possessions were my books. And my love of books started with the Bookmobile.
I still remember the excitement when the Bookmobile came to our elementary school. It was a van filled to bursting with all sorts of new, shiny books. We were allowed to choose one. To keep. For free.
This was a Very Big Deal. I was raised by a single mom and while we had what we needed, buying books was a luxury not to be thought of. I know now that the Bookmobile was funded by Reading Is Fundamental, whose goal is to get books into the hands of needy kids. I don't remember now if everyone at school got a book or if only certain kids did, but I do remember the magic of it. I remember being dazzled by the colors and the newness and the sheer number to choose from.
I remember Harry the Dirty Dog and The Giant Jam Sandwich and Ballet Shoes and Little Women. They were my treasures and I read them again and again and some of them I still own. I've shared them with my kids and with plenty of others. You guys are readers--you know how those pages were tickets to other worlds and times.
Those few, magic moments of choice filled me with happiness that lasted long after the Bookmobile pulled away. They fueled my love for stories and the written word and started me on a meandering path that has led me right back. I've done what I could to pay that joy forward, volunteering for literacy programs in schools, helping with book fairs, giving books as presents whenever I can. And now I've found that there is a RIF program in the county next to mine. I'll bet they can use a volunteer. But first I want to thank RIF. Reading is indeed Fundamental and I might never have known the magic if not for you.
How about you? Did the Bookmobile come to your school? Do you remember the first books you fell in love with? Do you still have them?