A baby nestles in her father’s arms and listens to the sound of his voice as he reads to her in his first language, French.
Throughout her young life C has snuggled beside members of her family to listen to many different types of books in French and English: song, poetry, classics, illustrated preschool, and now chapter books. Charlotte’s Web has become a favourite of hers. Although, when she asks me to read about Charlotte’s death I am always moved to tears and C comforts me by saying that Wilbur is happy to have Charlotte’s children as his friends.
Every time Father returns from Quebec he brings more French books and music.
I collect books and music wherever I go, at the yoga studio, thrift shops, garage sales and, of course, the many wonderful bookstores specializing in children’s books.
C has always enjoyed books and is now at the stage where she remembers the words if I miss one. C relates her every day activities to the literature that she remembers. For example, she is playing in the sand at the beach and she asks me if I want to eat something from the Seaweed Café. I was telling her mother about children who thought about their grandmother when they saw a flower or a seashell and C remembered the book Stella, the Princess of the Stars.
Since reading Spilt Milk, which is a story about the shapes of clouds looking like different things, C now uses her imagination when she looks at the white fluffy clouds. Today, as we were traveling along the freeway she saw a cloud which looked like a tree. We went through the tunnel which, I explained, is under the Fraser River and I asked her what animals live underground. She replied Mr. Mole. Her grandfather is reading the English literary classic Wind in the Willows. This is case of maintaining the tradition as this famous English story was first read to him 60 years ago when he was five and it is still his favourite story.
Reading and listening to books provides a secure moment of relaxation and a world of imagination. That’s why C asks for books to be read to her several times a day and especially before her nap and at night before she slumbers off to dreamland with all the many characters she has met.