Reflective Renewal

finding meaning and inspiration in children's literature

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The power of children’s books outside the classroom

March 17th, 2010 by lauree · 6 Comments · children's books

For those of you not in-the-know, our dear Christine is pregnant with her first child!

I was honored to help plan her baby shower on March 7 at Mohonk Moutain House. Our theme? Cherry blossoms. It’s still a little early for them, even here in Washington, DC, but with the bright blue sky that Sunday morning and a baby girl on her way, it seemed the perfect metaphor.

As I told the 50 ladies who joined us, this is about helping Christine transition into motherhood. There will plenty of time for baby when she arrives. Now is our chance to create a path for Christine to take this new step her life.

As women we have an opportunity to nurture and support one another through our transitions. Motherhood can be a mystery, though it doesn’t have to be. By sharing honestly about our experiences, and offering support to one another, we make all of lives richer. Women, we are in this life together!

In celebration of Christine and her love of literacy, every person was asked to bring a new children’s book to the shower that we would donate in her honor. Specifically they were asked to bring their favorite, either one they read as a child or read to a child in their life.

The response was overwhelming! Just like the response I received to my question posed on this blog – What was your favorite book as a child? – even before the shower people were calling or emailing to tell me their favorite book, and how excited they were to bring it with them.

We collected such an amazing variety, from Dick & Jane to Frog & Toad and of course a bunch of Dr Seuss. At the shower, I had women tell us why they brought the book they did. We heard stories about books read to Christine as a child, to their own children, and books with cherished memories and beloved characters. In fact, going into the bookstore to buy my book for the shower I ended up with one for her, and one for me, my favorite, James & The Giant Peach. (No sooner had I bought it did my father ask to borrow it. The power of children’s literature!)

The books collected are now with The Children’s Home in Poughkeepsie, NY for their new library for young mothers to read to their children.

As we celebrate the newness of spring, of birth and rebirth in our lives, consider how the beauty and simplicity of children’s literature and our connection as women can be equally celebrated and nurtured.

This post is about more than the pregnancy of my friend. It’s about the connection we have to each other, and the role that literature can play in those relationships. As teachers, you offer students a space to learn and grow. What a special gift that you can give yourself and the people in your lives too. A seemingly simple book, and a genuine curiosity about what inspires us as readers, can become a meaningful conversation. Even among people who don’t know each other well.

What support are you wanting in your life? What support can you offer the women around you?

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6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 anne roberts // Mar 18, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    What a wonderfu occasion; I wish I could have been with you all for the baby shower. Children’s books enrich all our lives, from early childhood into old age. What a lucky baby to be born to Christine and Jason; she will be read to over and over again!

  • 2 lauree // Mar 18, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    Thank you, Anne!

  • 3 Cathy Howe // Mar 18, 2010 at 7:20 PM

    I can not think of a better way to honor Christine and to celebrate the upcoming birth. Thank you for sharing!
    Cathy

  • 4 christine // Mar 18, 2010 at 7:27 PM

    Thanks, Cathy!

  • 5 Bonnie Clark // Mar 18, 2010 at 8:36 PM

    The Baby Shower for Christine was so wonderful! What a wonderful friend you are to her! You girls did a fabulous job!

  • 6 Colleen De Almeida // Mar 18, 2010 at 10:15 PM

    The shower was beautiful, so elegant. I felt like I was at girls tea party. The food was excellent. What a glorious time for all of us. The path Christine has chosen brings back lost memories for me. How exciting it was to learn how to read as a child. Dick, Spot, and Jane. Earning the right to stand in front of the class because you were doing a good job learning how to read. It was proud when given that right. Christine is living a little girls dreams! I love you Cristine and thank you for sharing such a special time in your life with me. And girls, to share such a friendship such as yours is a gift to be treasured. And to be Christine’s Aunt is too. I am honored and proud.

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