My childhood reading habits were shaped by weekly visits to the public library, mail order book club selections, and my parents’ generosity in buying books every time we set foot in a bookstore. One of my earliest memories is following along to a homemade audio recording of New Blue Shoes that my mother made for me.
Food and families have always been some of my favorite things to read about. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was beloved from the first time I picked it up, and Bread and Jam for Frances still makes me hungry every time I pull it off the shelf. I still think that a good cookbook makes some of the best reading. During the middle grade years I made friends with Betsy and Mandy and adored stories about large families like those in All-of-a-Kind Family. I read and loved everything by Lois Lowry.
While I did read some wonderful literature during my four years at Wheaton, it was primarily after graduation that my library card was once again put to good use. When I went to grad school two years later I read daily on the bus and enjoyed everything from Pride and Prejudice to the entire Harry Potter series.
I started my own collection of kidlit right after getting my first job out of college (i.e. as soon as I had a few bucks to spend). I gathered books like Brambley Hedge, Betsy-Tacy, and The Tale of Desperaux, first devouring them myself and then stashing them away to share with my own children someday. When my daughter arrived in the spring of 2009, wonderful board books like Jamberry and I Kissed the Baby filled our house. My sons joined us in 2012 and 2014, and now our home is brimming over with picture books, chapter books, and children’s audio books in addition to lively little people. We’re homeschoolers, so we’ve got all sorts of living books a la Charlotte Mason floating around, and there’s an ever-rotating collection of favorites from our library on our bookshelves as well.
My own reading habits are shaped primarily by my beloved book club – with whom I spend one glorious evening a month – and by love of memoirs and my interests in education, parenting, and theology. My literary comfort foods are books like Sense and Sensibility, Middlemarch, My Sisters the Saints, A Homemade Life, and works by C.S. Lewis and Elizabeth Goudge. In my spare time (ha!) I enjoy photography, baking, podcasts, weaving the seasons of the church year into family traditions, having tea with friends, and watching British dramas with my half-British husband. And, of course, researching the very best books in the world of children’s literature.