Monday, December 5, 2011

Reading, First Book, and Our Holiday Donation

We Teaching Authors are celebrating the holidays by sharing something important to all of us: books! And you can help!

My sisters and I all learned to read before we started school. We grew up with books. One of the earliest I can remember is a gem called The Color Kittens by Margaret Wise Brown, best known for the classic Goodnight, Moon.

Two kittens named Brush and Hush “liked to mix and make colors by splashing one color into another.” Timeless illustrations by Alice and Martin Provensen show the kittens, dressed in striped overalls and matching hats, with their “buckets and buckets of color.” They mix red with white, yellow with red, red with blue, and finally blue with yellow.

“O wonderful kittens! O Brush! O Hush!” This line stuck with me through the years, and when I found a scribbled-up copy of the book at a rummage sale several years ago, I was delighted to read it again.

Overjoyed with the colors they make, the kittens paint everything around them. At night, they dream
“A wonderful dream
Of a rose red tree
That turned all white
When you counted three. . . .
Of a purple land
In a pale pink sea
Where apples fell
From a golden tree”

Yes, my sisters and I grew up with The Color Kittens and The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, Madeline and Pippi Longstocking, Angelo the Naughty One and Caps for Sale.

But not every child is so lucky.

Millions of kids have no books in their homes. First Book is trying to change that by providing books to children in need. We believe, as Bookmark, the First Book Blog says, that “a solid, comprehensive education is the best chance many of those kids have at succeeding in life.” Reading is the vital first step.

How can you help? By posting a comment on our blog. For every comment we receive (one per person, please, and spam doesn’t count), we’ll donate $1 to First Book. We’ll keep track of comments from now until the end of the year, we'll post periodic updates, and we’ll donate up to $225. Every $2.50 donated provides a brand-new book to a child in need. And through Dec. 31, Disney Publishing Worldwide will match every $1 donated with another new book.

So help our donation add up! Post one comment on any of our posts from now through December 31. Tell us about your first book, your child’s or grandchild’s first book, why you believe children should have their own books, or your own First Book donation. Then help us spread the word!

Happy holidays!

JoAnn Early Macken

31 comments:

Andrea Mack said...

What a great idea! I can't imagine my life without books.

P.J. Early said...

Thank you! I hope other kids will grow up reading like we did!

Marilyn Singer said...

I love this idea, too. And I also grew up on Little Golden Books. Bravo for donating!

jama said...

Fabulous idea. Thanks for doing this!!

Elisa said...

This is a great and hopeful idea!!

JoAnn Early Macken said...

Thanks, everyone, for your comments & for helping us spread the word!

nebraskaicebergs said...

I grew up in a house of books. One Christmas, my dad and I opened our gifts right after midnight. One of my best presents came from him: a picture Bible Story book. I stayed up all night reading it. To this day, I love to receive books as gifts and read them the very same day. Every child should have this experience.

Lori Degman said...

How generous of you! I made a donation to First Books and shared your FB post! I don't remember my exact first book but I'm sure it was a Dr. Seuss book.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

What a wonderful idea! I'm in full support! I also grew up in a house of books and have fond memories of one Christmas in particular when I got a set of the first 6 Nancy Drew books!

Katyroo said...

I remember the Color Kittens and the other books you remember from childhood. When I was 10, all I wanted was Charlie & the Chocolate Factory - and got it! Keep the FirstBook love going!

Brimful Curiosities said...

My mom subscribed to the Weekly Reader Book Club when I was a small child, and I can remember how excited I felt every time a new book arrived by mail. One of my favorites was a wacky book titled, "There Are Rocks in My Socks!" Said the Ox to the Fox. What a different world it would be if every child could get a book magically delivered to their home monthly!

Patricia Nesbitt said...

This is a wonderful idea. I grew up in the 50s in a home with no books. At some point during my preschool years, my parents purchased a set of orange and black Childcraft books from a door-to-door salesman. Those were my only books until I reached school age. The first volume was a collection of poetry and Mother Goose nursery rhymes. My parents read it cover-to-cover, over and over, to me. I still love poetry today. Once I learned to read for myself in first grade, I read every book I could get my hands on.
Today, my home is filled with all kinds of books, and books are my first gift choice to all children.

Lindsay said...

I can't remember a time when I wasn't reading or being read to. Books were an integral part of creating who I am today, and I love that you are helping to provide that for children who can't afford books!
Great job!

Brian Minter, First Book said...

Fantastic! Thank you all so much - JoAnn and everyone else who has commented.

I work for First Book, and your support of our work will put new books into the hands of kids all across the country.

Here's my favorite recent story from one of the children we've provided books too. (Warning: May cause some tears).

Thanks again to everyone!

Terry P. said...

Terrific idea! I also loved COLOR KITTENS and even used it in one of my presentations at VCFA. Thanks for doing this wonderful project!

aquafortis said...

Wonderful fundraising effort! I'll definitely post about it on Finding Wonderland soon.

I have no idea what my first book was, but that's probably because I was lucky enough to grow up in a house full of books with a bookworm for a mom! (In hindsight, I suppose it was sort of inevitable that I became a writer...) Every kid should have the opportunity to discover their inner bookworm. I hope your fundraising is wildly successful!

JoAnn Early Macken said...

Thanks again, everyone! Be sure to read Esther's post about the history of Little Golden Books. What an impact those little books made!

Nebraskaicebergs, I still love to stay up late reading. Lori, Dr, Seusss was a big hit in our house, too. Susanna, my sisters and I inherited a stack of Nancy Drew and Honey Bunch books from an older cousin--I still have them. Katyroo, you may be the first person outside my family who's mentioned The Color Kittens. Brimful Curiosities, I loved getting those book fliers when our kids were in elementary school. Patricia, I still think books make the best gifts. Lindsay, yes, the books we read do help make us who we are. Brian Minter, I'm glad to hear from you. Thanks for sharing the story. Terry P, I'm glad to hear from another Color Kittens lover & VCFA person. Aquafortis, thanks for spreading the word!

Check back to read more from April, Jeanne Marie, Carmela, and Mary Ann and watch our donation grow!

Zhita said...

One of the most enjoyable things I do is sharing books with my grandchildren. I pick up my Long Beach granddaughter from her school one day a week. I always have books on the back seat. She gets in, picks up a book, and starts to read. The variety of books is endless and so is her interest in reading. What a joy for me!

JoAnn Early Macken said...

Wonderful, Zhita--what lucky grandchildren you have!

Sara said...

Both my kids loved Pinkerton, Behave! Thanks for doing this for First Book!

Kay Winters said...

Loved the blogs on the first books read as children. I too, am the kind of author who has to have a stack of library books around so I never run out! I taught myself to read with the Nancy and Sluggo comics when I was four. And I've never stopped!
Kay Winters

Emily said...

What a great idea, and thank you so much for doing this! I don't remember my first book, but one of my favorite books was The Lively Little Rabbit, also a Little Golden book.

debtasticreads said...

What a great and generous idea!

valerie hobbs said...

Lovely and generous!

mrsc1989 said...

Thanks to a wonderful teacher grandma and reading parents, there was no shortage of books in our home. My sisters and I all love to read and have raised reading children and grandchildren. I can't imagine a home without books. I give them to everyone I can.

KittyKat said...

As a child, I loved reading the Little Golden Book series. I was quite fascinated with the illustration and how vivid they were. When my nephews were born, I gave them each a set.

Hilda and Jimmy Guan said...

How awesome is this!

I grew up going to libraries and reading until wee hours of the night. Now that I have children of my own, I surround them with books. Even my almost 6 month old knows that books are cool and that every page holds something new and surprising!

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

Here's to First Book!

Gayathri said...

Thanks for doing such a thing! My daughter loves The very Hungry Caterpillar

JoAnn Early Macken said...

I'm so glad to hear all these wonderful stories about books and readers. Thank you all for your comments! Keep spreading the word!

Jennifer Ironside said...

Some of the earliest books I was given include "Goodnight Moon", "The Runaway Bunny" and "The Three Little Kittens. I still have all three well-worn books, and read them to my own child.