When I was in first grade I learned to read. I can still remember the first real chapter book I ever read. You know the kind that make you grown up because they have no pictures? It was called The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. I read it in an evening after I checked it out of the school library. After the ease of reading that book, and the thrill I had completing it on my own and becoming absorbed in the story, I was a life long reader.
Books, reading, storytelling, libraries and bookstores were part of my heart and soul. I was never censored either. Sometimes I hear a parent say, "Oh, I won't let little Jimmy Sue read that, he/she's not ready." It makes me a little sad. A book presents itself to a reader when the reader is ready. I absolutely think if a kid loves to read and wants to read he or she should not be stopped.
One of my favorite books was Bridge to Terabithia, written by Newberry Medal winning writer Katherine Paterson who is now in her 80's and has just written a lovely memoir that I couldn't put down. Her writing is straight forward and not fussy as all her young adult and children's books are. She simply tells the stories of her life. Born and raised in China, a daughter of missionaries, and part of the history of China during the 20's and 30's she grows to be a teacher, mother, missionary and writer. Her stories are sweet and fascinating and engaging. I loved this book. I plan to pull out one of her many other award winners as a future read. I just can't say enough good about her reflections on her own family and children and writing life. Go read this book.