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1:49 PM EST, January 3, 2013
Over the last nine years of motherhood, I have had so many important moments with my boys thanks to books. When they were little, we would snuggle together and read board books until the pages were worn. In fact, I recently put a bin of these in the attic, unable to give them away just yet.
"They represent too many memories," I told my husband. "I'm not ready."
When they were toddlers, they loved trains. So, we would read books about locomotives, research them on the internet, make scrapbooks and then head out to a train exhibit. That's when we started using books as a jumping off point...to then go out into the world and make the lesson more complete.
We read the entire Harry Potter series, out loud, from start to finish...watching every movie after completing each book. Then, we talked about the scenes, discussing whether or not they matched our imaginations. On a family vacation, we visited Hogwarts Castle at Universal Studios in Florida. Sure, it's a theme park, but touring the castle, walking through the village of Hogsmeade and eating at "Three Broomsticks Pub" made us feel like we were characters in J.K. Rowling's incredible world. The boys were elated...and so were we.
Last summer, we read "Huckleberry Finn" and "Tom Sawyer" together and then kayaked over to an island off the coast of our town and felt as if we were on an adventure, along with Mark Twain's legendary characters.
And, recently, we read "Wonderstruck" by Brian Selznick, also author of "The Invention of Hugo Cabret". This graphic novel weaves two separate stories together. Both protagonists, Ben and Rose, have a connection to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Selznick details their visits to the museum...the exhibits they look at...the halls they run through. So, when we headed to the Big Apple at Christmastime, I organized a trip to the museum to bring our "Wonderstruck" unit full circle.
We were wandering around, enjoying the sights, when I heard my youngest son squeal: "They are here! The wolves from 'Wonderstruck' are here!" The plot revolves around an exhibit about the wolves of Gunflint Lake, Minnesota. I had absolutely no idea that it was a real exhibit and that we would get the chance to see it. We were all literally jumping up and down...so excited to see these animals...and become a part of a wonderful book that we truly enjoyed together. As a parent, it was a very rewarding experience.
We just started "The Hobbit"...I'm trying to read fast so we won't miss it at the movie theatre!
What books have provided lovely family memories for you?