You may not be surprised to learn that I love books for kids. And after many looooong decades of watching these books come and go, I still have a soft spot in my fuzzy wuzzy bear heart for the favorite books of my beary youth, especially books like:
Corduroy by Don Freeman. Just like Corduroy, I was taken into a kind place, spruced up, and made new friends after a long life on the shelf. I was actually never on the shelf and was a more of an urban wilderness bear, but I’m still forever grateful for being taken in at the Canton Public Library—and Corduroy stirs up all those happy feelings.
Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel. The friendship between these two reminds me of all the best friends I’ve ever had. To all the lovely patrons and staff who come and go in the library, the ones who say hello to me, admire my costumes, and offer me book recommendations: You are all my best friends and I never forget (psst... Miss Ruth, I still miss you!). Frog and Toad have been around a long time, and so has my love of friendship.
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. I’ve read this one many times and am always impressed with Claudia and Jamie’s sense of adventure when they run away, but it reminds me of my library home. I spend a lot of long nights in the library after closing time, and it’s a lot like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, except we don’t have a fountain here. And you can’t throw coins in the fish tank. You'll get in trouble—not that I would know.
These books still make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside when I think of them and I especially love watching others check them out. I’ll tell you a secret, too: A lot of parents really want you kids to enjoy the same books they did. It’s really fun to share a special book, but the old folks should not be the only ones who get to share their favorites. You should share the books that give you the warm fuzzies with your grownups, too. If they poo-poo your suggestions, show them the books below that will remind them of how important kids’ books are, even for grownups:
Why You Should Read Children's Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise. Sometimes grownups think they are too old for “kids' books,” but Katherine Rundell reminds those old, wise folks that kids' books are good for them, too.
Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children's Literature. For every adult who grew up and still hold their own childhood stories close to their heart.
Steeped in Stories. Children’s author Mitali Perkins (she’s great!) revisits some old childhood classics and talks about why they are still important. Not just for the warm fuzzies, but to give us hope in difficult times.
My friends here at the library also love children’s books. Even the library workers who are very serious and grown up and read serious, grownup things have fond memories of their favorite childhood books. I asked them what books gave them the warmest, fuzziest feelings, and these are the stories they shared with me:
I’ve shared my own childhood favorites, my library friends’ favorites, and now I am curious—what are the books that spark warm, fuzzy childhood memories and feelings in your family? I would love to have you share them with me—just type in the comment box at the bottom, share on social media and tag the library, or come on in and tell me in person.