Tuesday, April 14, 2009

a dream to sleep

bedtime by you.
Last night Charles came home from work just in time to capture our bedtime together: Adelaide, Elliot and I. And I am so glad that he did, for I'd like to have this with me for always.

For a while when I was little, every evening my mom would read a bit the book My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George to my older brother and, without he realising it, I would listen in, too. This book really perked my imagination as a little girl, and if left such a huge impression in my little head. Ever since I've often imagined, when I am about to fall asleep, that I live inside the middle of a very cozy tree in the forest. I dream that I am all safe and warm and cozy falling asleep in my tree. And this little dream of mine can get me to sleep every time.

I am now 32 years old and still I often imagine that I am in my tree, except now Adelaide is always with me, too. The other night I realised that this dream of mine - which has been with me for so long now - has kind of come true. For we live just beside a huge forest in a little house, which although is not a tree, we have made all safe and warm and cozy together.

Often, when I am feeling sad or lost or down, I will pull out my old copy of My Side of the Mountain and re-read it once again, and it usually does the trick and brings me back to that cozy and safe place. It's amazing to me that a childhood book can do that, and I'm glad that it does.

But it's also left me wondering - have children's books left such a huge impression on others, too? Are there any books that you have carried along with you for decades much like me? Perhaps I am just a bit odd, but I suspect (and hope) that others may have these stories, too. And I'd love to hear.

cozy by you.

51 comments:

Lindsey said...

I think the amount of impact depends on many things.
For me, I had an experience much like yours; my parents, along with my brother and I, would take turns reading "Where the Red Fern Grows" to us in the living room. I still have the best memories of that.
Also, my dad read me "The Secret Garden" and he did all the little british voices. We have a special connection to this day because of that book.
Thank you for rekindling these thoughts and memories. Keep it up mom, well done.

Rachel said...

So many. Little Women was a big one for me, and I still never let a Thanksgiving or Christmas go by without reading Truman Capote's books (A Thanksgiving Visitor and A Christmas Memory) - they make the holidays.

Dawn said...

Children's books are the best! For me, it was anything by Maurice Sendak, especially "Chicken Soup with Rice." Because of all the great memories I now collect them. I try to find first editions because it makes things interesting. It's hard though to describe the impression each book left on me; all I know is that they still make me happy when I think about them, even as an adult!

jess said...

SO MANY!
Despite fading memories of my mother reading to us- or rather, us to her, because she always pushed us to read- I remember dad's stories that I always believed (and never should have!) and my grandmother reading to us at her house. Jack and the Beanstalk, and Grover/ The Monster at the End of this Book were the ones Grammy read to us.

natasha said...

The Ramona Books by Beverly Cleary. So amazing.

Gwen said...

your room is amazing!

on a side note, i purchased a mobile like yours and cant for the life of me figure out how to hang it. any tips?

Amelia L. said...

I can't even begin to list the many books that created worlds for me to jump into when I was younger. I'm so glad I developed a love for reading at such a young age, it's a wonderful way to escape the real world or even to make you remember why you love the real world so much...

By the way, what color&paint brand are the walls? They're perfect! (Sorry if this has been answered before, I must have missed it)

Geninne said...

Oh boy, I've got so many favorite books! My top three would have to be:

1) "Mouse Tales" by Arnold Lobel

2)"Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak. Did you hear they're making it into a movie?? You can see the trailer here.

3) "Madeleine" by Ludwig Bemelmans.

alexandra said...

My name is Susan Alexandra and the Susan comes from my mom's favourite book growing up... 'Susan in the Rain'. Books are so, so fabulous and the fact that some stay with you all your life is beautiful thing.

Busy Vee said...

For me, I love: the Princess and the Pea, Babar, Little Witch, Berenstain Bears, and Superfudge!

p.s. can you share the color blue that is painted in your gorgeous daughter's bedroom...thanks!

tracy said...

this absolutely made my day!

what a wonderful space to snuggle & read. love every inch of it!

Katie said...

I am exactly the same way! I am yet to have my own children but I still frequently pick up favourites from my childhood when I see them in used book stores.

Especially dear to me are the books our "far away" family used to send. My Mum's family is all in Scotland and as a result we have loads of Shirley Hughes books, Enid Blyton, Mog...lovely :)

Katie

Tonya said...

Although my childhood book memories aren't as sweet and specific as yours, I do think it is funny someone else listed The Monster at the End of This Book. That was one of my faves as a child and my 3yr old son now LOVES to 'read' it to me.

katemakes said...

i still love all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books and can't wait for my little girl to get to the stage of 'chapter books'. when my sister and i were in our twenties and living in japan with our mom, she would read us huckleberry finn and tom sawyer. i could happily listen to her read the phone book - it's just that comgforting sound. i have just started to teach my daughter to read and can't wait until she falls in love with the same books i loved too.

Strongrrl said...

Absolutely! Most anything by Leo Lionni, Blueberries for Sal, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, The Giving Tree. Soo many.

Reading to my daughter is my favorite thing to do together. And today, one month to the day before she turns 4, she checked out her own book to read at the library! In her stroller on the way home she sounded out the word and read to herself (just single words). Soo exciting!

crit said...

my mom and i read Heidi together and my dad read James and the Giant Peach to my brother and I. i loved that special time with them.

i must say, you seem like the coolest mom. i love your blog and get inspired not only by what you make, but by how you love your daughter.

Chandra said...

Lucy Maud Montgomry has to be an all time favorite. Her descriptions of the Canadian landscapes and depictions of certain events and things have stayed with me from young adulthood. Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, Good Wives, Little Men and Jo's Boys are treasures that helped me develop into the woman that I am today.

For little Addy try some new found favorites of mine, that I read to my little boys on a regular basis:

Margaret Wise Brown, The Little Fur Family. I promise you, you will love it!!!

Also by her, and equally favorable:

Good Night Moon, Wait Till the Moon is Full, The Big Red Barn, The Postman, My World, Bunny's Noisy Book, and Sneakers the Seaside Cat (you have to check this out! The cat looks like your own black and white kitty).

Laura Ingalls Wilder is also a wonderful bedtime story read...something that I am reading to my own boys right now!

annie said...

I loved The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster but my daughter isn't ready for that just yet... With her I love to read Make Way for Ducklings (and anything else by Robert McCloskey), Owl Moon and the very silly George and Martha stories. Oh, and Henry and Mudge. And...

I think I'm a little obsessed with kids books!

Astrid said...

YES! I love children's books - the ones I read when I was a child and the ones that were read to me. I have purchased several children's books for myself after I have grown up, and I love reading books to my girls. The worlds created, the imagination it tickles - I love children's books. And your photos are gorgeous - so is the quilt! :)

Anonymous said...

oh wow! what an unforgetable images there! It brought tears in my eyes!

When I was as little as Miss A, there were some bed time story telling by my dad, not reading from a book though, he used to make up very colorful stories I loved.

My most loved book was -and still is- a Öperim' story book as translated in Turkish: 'Ellerinden Öperim' by Bulgarian writer, Angel Karalichev. Mom got that book for me when I was new into reading. It had very nice drawings, which I kept all details in mind.

I must have read it so many times and the book finally teared apart. Years later I could find another edition and bought, even if it is without those drawings and not a nice paper like that one...

I trasure it and read it through time to time.

*Gül from Turkey

Fancy Elastic said...

oh, you three look so cosy... what a haven!

hannah said...

i have reread Bridge to Teribithia every year since 4th grade. I have loved it ever since my teacher read it to the class that year.

sk said...

Great picture!

I loved My Side of the Mountain! I will have to read that again sometime. I have a similar memory, of my mom reading The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe to me at bedtime, little by little. Another book that has stuck with me is Harriet the Spy-- I really identified with Harriet, and I remember keeping a notebook and recording neighborhood observations, and details of my neighbors' activities! Oh, I really wish I had that notebook now...I wonder what happened to it.

Another book, or two books really, that are amazing, are by Monica Furlong: Juniper, and also Wise Child. I read them in high school, but they are meant for a younger crowd. I highly recommend that you check them out, and read them as much for yourself as for Adelaide!

Megan said...

My favorite has been Bridge To Terebithia. I still have my original copy and I love to read it over and over. (I refuse to see the movie since it looks nothing like the book's plot). It's depressing, but hopeful at the same time and I just love it.

Suzanne said...

Those photos are so sweet - treasure them forever!

I have SO many favourite children's books - all the great ones by Robert Munsch, plus I will always have a special place in my heart for The Secret Garden, Harold and the Purple Crayon and Where the Wild Things Are. I still have my old copy of Harold and the Purple Crayon - complete with my own drawings all over it.
Oh, a couple other cute ones that I remember loving are Corduroy and Bread & Jam for Frances.

Vanessa said...

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is a book I read with my daughter and my mother read to me.

On the Night You Were Born is one I read to my daughter. Makes me cry all the time.

Of course, Courdroy, Madeline and any Dr Seuss remind me of my childhood.

Jac said...

So many childhood books have left an impression on me. When I was younger I used to love the Enid Blyton books such as the Famous five where children used to go off and have adventures in the outdoors and solve myseries. I also loved things like Swallows and Amazons, Heidi, so so many. I've just recently aged 37yrs old read through the whole of the Harry potter series!You can never be too old to read childhood books again!

Its_Lily said...

well, this is just a fabulous post. Thank you for sharing a slice of your life.

Gquaker said...

What a lovely post!

I always associate When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six (Both by A.A. Milne) with my littlest self. Finding Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs at the library was always a treat, too. Although, in retrospect, the latter is a little intense (The school is crushed by a massive pancake!).

kajola said...

I really loved The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay which I think my dad brought back from one of his business trips to Australia. The drawings were great and I loved how cranky the pudding guy was.

Anonymous said...

I think language and culture can really stick with you when it is introduced when you are young. I am not of Asian descent, but am half German (mom came to the states when she was 17). To help teach me German, which we didn't really speak at home since Daddy didn't understand a word, she arranged for me to spend a morning every week or so with a retired native German speaker (my grandparents still lived in Germany). I would play with her grandkids' toys as we would gently talk in both English and German. We would also listen to recordings of German songs and children's books and have a snack of traditionally German food. This was a great wasy to introduce me to the language and culture, but wasn't boring or structured like the Chinese school sounds.

Susan said...

The first book I ever remember reading was an anthology called The Bumper Book. It was read to me and then I learned to read it and then I read it to my daughter. The books my daughter liked having read to her (after she passed the Goodnight Moon age)was the All Of A Kind Family series. I am a librarian in an elementary school now and still, when I find an especially funny or beautiful or touching book I read it to my child.

Dot said...

Its so strange that you posted this because at the moment I am rereading boy and going solo by Roald Dahl, it makes me so incredibly happy getting lost in his world he is the most amazing story teller in fact I got so lost that I missed my tube stop! Another one that I love in Meg and Mog and I look at them now and I still love them I think it must be the bright colours!

Breezy Babies said...

One of my favorite books is about friendship, I found it at a thrift store. Even though I didn't read it as a child I love reading it to my daughter and she loves it too. It has three short stories about the "rules" of friendship. Its very sweet.
The book is called George and Martha
http://www.amazon.com/George-Martha-Book-Read-Along/dp/0618839518/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1239940222&sr=8-4

Delphine said...

aw, thank you for sharing these pictures, they make my heart melt :)

Jenifir said...

What a successful room. Will you show pictures of the studio space (or did I miss it)? Your post got me thinking about favourite children's books and there are so many! A.A. Milne, Beatrix Potter,books illustrated by Garth Williams and Arthur Rackham. These all developed my sense of design. I was also very attached the Laura Ingalls Wilder series and that interest encouraged my relationship with my paternal grandmother. Her family left urban Michagan to homestead near Prince Albert Sask. in 1910 when she was five years old. They lived in a sod house and went to some of the Pot-latches of the First Nations peoples and rode a horse to school so her life was not much different for Laura's fifty years earlier.

Shimmy Shake said...

Just a quick note to let you know that I love this room. I loved the boxes you put together for the shelves, the quilt, the paint color - it just looks fantastic!!

Anonymous said...

All of you, including Elliott under the covers in that first photo! We have a super cozy storytime, too.

Anonymous said...

When my children were Adelaide's age, I read "Where's Our Mama?" by Diane Goode. I don't recall my own early readers, but I especially enjoyed being read to from the Winnie the Pooh series by A.A. Milne and the Laura Ingalls Wilder series. I later enjoyed all of Louisa May Alcott's books. My all time favorite book is "To Kill a Mockingbird". I love trolling used book sites for books I loved when I was a school ager.

meli-mello said...

I don't think anyone read a novel to me when I was little. Unfortunately I have lost most of my memory from before I was 9 so I don't remember much. HOWEVER, I honestly believe on of the reasons I wanted children was so I can read to them from beloved novels every night. I hope my daughter doesn't mind (right now she is a little too young for me to start) because I have been collecting them for years.

I love this photo of you and Addie.

Natalie said...

I LOVE "My Side of the Mountain!!" I need to dig up a copy for my BF to read because he missed out on that one. I have many treasured books from my childhood, many which have been mentioned above. I particularly loved "The Secret World of Og" by Pierre Berton, The Booky Trilogy by Bernice Thurman Hunter, The BFG and The Witches by Roald Dahl, The Secret Island by Enid Blyton...and so many others!

shael said...

So cozy! I've never heard of your book... I'll have to look it up. I always loved The Secret Garden when I was younger - anything magical especially with faeries. I used to tell my daughter that the sleep faeries would come and bring sweet dreams.

babalisme said...

I do.. I have the Noddy series and the forest friends and the gnomes by Tony Wolf, I am now giving it to my little nephew.

Do you sleep with Adelaide? It's very relieving since I sleep with my Giselle too. Many parents are against it but I see no harm sleeping in with your lovelies.

And your cat is actually bigger than Adelaide!! Wow!

monica said...

Little Women.

Without a doubt. I've read it soooo many times and it always makes me feel 'better' and happy and serene.

I now collect old copies of it and I never let one go if I see it in a charity shop.... (I've got about 40... insane, I know, I know)

casapinka said...

This is the BEST. Like a bit of heaven, isn't it? : )
P.S. Your daughter is SO freaking cute.

Vintage Modern Girl said...

The Little House on the Prairie and Nancy Drew (the old ones) books are my favorites! and i just LOVE your bedroom (and your blog)!

Lynne said...

I loved the picture book Dogger, by Shirley Hughes. You should check it out for your little girl, she would love it.

natalie said...

these photos are great! i just had my first daughter 6 weeks ago, and when we are nursing in bed, my cat simba feels he needs to be in the mix, and will cozy up on the opposite side of me. but i am off track....definitely, charlotte's web. it's a keeper.

Melissa de la Fuente said...

Oh my goodness....your blog is just filled with beautiful moments captured on film and in your words...thank you so much for sharing these with us. I am new to your blog but, think I have just found my newest favorite!
xo
Melissa
ps your little girls room is beautiful.....

6p00d8357dedec69e2 said...

so many! as a little girl I think my fascination mainly had to do with the pictures, so One Monster After Another by Mercer Mayer, What's Fun Without A Friend by Chihiro Iwasaki, and Millie's Secret by Gyo Fujikawa were definitely some of my favorites. I shared some images from these on my blog a while back: http://kellyjohnston.typepad.com/sketchbook/2008/03/early-exposure.html

And as I got older: The Secret Garden, the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, Roald Dahl's books and the Anne of Green Gables series were very special to me. I'm looking forward to sharing these with my daughter when she's a little older.

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