When I was in Seattle, I had a great time going through some old family photo albums and taking quick snapshots of some of them. I noticed a couple themes that emerged. One of them was books; there were loads of photos of people reading to my sister and me (and looking at photo albums). I’m certain that had loads to do with me being an obsessive reader as a kid and teenager, and why I’m making books today. Funnily enough, my sister didn’t like reading for a long time, until she discovered Archie comics. Now she reads even more than I do.
Here’s my dad, reading to me in the house where my parents still live. Check out Dad’s fab trousers!
I think that giving kids access to books and apps is great, but nothing beats getting read to. I still love it. When Stuart and I first got married, we decided we were going to read books to each other. But maybe I have a bad reading voice, or Stuart wanted to be in charge or something, but it quickly morphed into Stuart reading to me (which actually suits me just fine.)
My grandma reading to my sister and me
Stuart and I worked our way through Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island, The Wind in the Willows, Rebecca and a couple other books. It’s funny how a book can come across differently when someone else reads it. When I read Rebecca (by Daphne du Maurier), I really sympathised with the timid main character, but when Stuart read it, I thought, I’d much rather meet the headstrong, fun-loving first wife, Rebecca.
Dominique, our baby-sitter, reading to us. I can identify the other book, Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban and Garth Williams.
Family friend JoAnn Burwell reading to us, with our friend Sarah Knofel. Sarah was much of a bookworm as I was.
My aunt looks on as her friend Marjorie reads to us The Magician and the Petnapping by David McKee. (Here’s an interview I did as an adult with David McKee!)
Reading Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends to my grandpa
Oh, and I noticed another theme of our photo albums: I come from a line of people who wear kickin’ spectacles. Here’s my mother and grandma: