When I was in college, I somehow convinced a professor to let me take a graduate level education class over the summer. It was about children's literature. I took it because I loved reading when I was a kid and I figured it would be an easy enough summer class. It wasn't easy, but so worth it.
I was very shy as a child. Books were a way to be brave and bold. I loved the places real and imagines that a book could take me too.
That class is where I really understood the power that good literature has to change a child's world. It was probably the BEST class I ever took in college. She taught us how to look critically at children's literature. She taught us that picture books were so much more than pretty stories. That class is when I started collecting my own library for the children I hoped to read to someday. Little did I know how important that summer course would be.
Many years later, that library has grown. I love them all. I cherish my copy of Tikki Tikki Tembo, remembering with a smile my parents reading it to me. I still shudder with delight at the Wild Things. I remember the sites of my own trip to Paris with Madeline. I think fondly of me dear friend Anne. Every so often I plunge into a Wrinkle in Time, carried off once more into strange beautiful worlds.
Thanks to people like Charlotte Mason, Elizabeth, Michele and Cay (and many many more talented and generous women/moms/educators at the 4Real boards) those lessons learned one summer years ago are not forgotten. They have come to life for me once more this past year. I am learning to trust the same instinct I had to take that hard class. I am learning to trust those same books to speak to my children's minds and hearts.
Cay posted this yesterday. Actually, the series of posts she's done recently are invaluable. But news of this book made my day. I can't wait.