Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Reading, First Book(s) and our Holiday Donation

As JoAnn posted Monday, we TeachingAuthors chose to celebrate the holidays by sharing something important to all of us: first books/First Book!

Like JoAnn, who shared her remembrances of The Color Kittens by Margaret Wise Brown, one of my very first owned-by-only-me books was a Little Golden Book too: Little Red Riding Hood, beautifully, indeed memorably, told and illustrated by Elizabeth Orton Jones.

     “Once upon a time there was a little girl
who was dearly loved by all – most of all by
her grandmother.
     Wherever she went she always wore a little
red cape with a hood which her grandmother made 
 for her. So people called her Little Red Riding Hood.”

I treasure my well-worn copy, a 50th Birthday gift from my sister. The Adopted Chicagoan in me can’t help but smile each time I read the introduction noting Miss Jones’ Highland Park, IL and University of Chicago and Chicago Art Institute connections.

I selected the book myself at our local West Philadelphia A and P, turning the Little Golden Books rack round and round ‘til I was satisfied with that week’s choice.
I knew it would be at home with my Three Little Bears, Hansel and Gretel, Puss and Boots and Saggy Baggy Elephant, just to name a few.
It turns out I was one of millions who, thanks to these twenty-five-cent books, grew up reading (!), keeping company with such ground-breaking and talented artists and writers as Margaret Wise Brown, Alice and Marin Provensen, Richard Scarry and Feodor Rojankovsky.

Leonard S. Marcus shares the history of Little Golden Books in his 2007 Random House book, Golden Legacy – How Golden Books Won Children’s Hearts, Changed Publishing Forever, and Became an American Icon Along the Way.
Baby Boomers especially will delight in the stories behind these shiny gold-foil-spined books, ooh-ing and ah-ing with each remembered cover.

The book’s front flap copy says it all:

“The year 1942 was marked by a bold experiment that, even in the thick of World War II, would galvanize consumer culture: the launch of the twenty-five-cent Little Golden Books. At a time when the literacy rate was not as high as it is now – and privation was felt by nearly all – high-quality books for children would be available at a price that nearly everyone could afford, and sold where ordinary people shopped every day.”

Today not every child is so lucky. The truth is: millions of children live in book-less homes.
But First Book is trying to change that by providing books to children in need.
How can you help us help these millions of children eager to own their very own books?
Simply post one comment on our blog from now through December 31. Tell us about your first book, your child’s or grandchild’s first book, why books are important, why children should own their own books.
You can help us spread the word.
You can even make your own First Book Donation.

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.

Happy commenting!

And, thanks for your Support!

Esther Hershenhorn


Anonymous said...

I'm glad for this introduction to your blog.

cathyso3 said...

Books are treasures. They entertain, teach, feed the imagination, and peak curiosity. Open a book and step into another world!

pennym said...

When my mother took me to our old Carnegie Library, I headed straight to the Wizard of Oz books. I couldn't get enough of Dorothy and her friends. Maybe that is why I grew up to be a librarian!

Sandra Stiles said...

Not only do I remember some of my Little Golden Books but I bought them for my children. Now my daughter buys them for her daughter. My daughter's favorite was The Pokey Little Puppy. That is the first one she bought for her daughter. Books are powerful. In my house it is the first thing my grand daughter runs for.

Brian Minter, First Book said...

Thanks, Esther, and all the commenters!

So you know, every $2.50 donation to First Book provides a brand-new book to a child from a low-income family. Having a new book to call their own is really important to them.

Here's a recent story illustrating that power.

Thanks again!

Laurie L Young said...

Such a worthy event, thanks for doing this!
I always had books in my house, and I remember reading and loving many of the Little Golden Books. But my favorites, hands-down, were all the Dr. Seuss books my parents gave me. My first and best favorite will always be "One Fish, Two Fish." I still quote it to this day.

Bobbi Miller said...

What an interesting discussion! I have to admit, I really can't remember my first book. I was quite the reader back in the old days, and was reading fairly well (for a youngun) by the time I was in kindergarten. I was reading everything. I was reading Jack London and Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist by the time I was in fourth grade. My favorite tended to be whatever I was reading at the time! However, I was particularly keen on anything by Mark twain, then and now!

Esther Hershenhorn said...

Welcome, Anonymous, to our TeachingAuthors blog!
And thanks to you, my pal Ann Connolly who posted her comments elsewhere and all who responded so personally, thus insuring our December event puts books in the hands of children and eventually grows readers!
What fun to come at children's literature by reading others' First Books...

Roxanne Owens, DePaul University said...

I couldn't get enough Pat the Bunny, Put Me in the Zoo, Go Dogs Go, and a Fish Out of Water when I was little. I also had a really cool book that was shaped like a purse and it had stuff inside of it like lipstick. Fabulous. i remember many fond moments reading with my mom before bedtime.

Pati Nerio said...

Nice idea to get the uninitiated initiated into blogs and a good cause.... I enjoyed an “ancient” book of stories called “My Bedtime Book” illustrated by Garth Williams. My favorite story was “Animal Friends”. It was about a cat, dog, sparrow, squirrel, chick and turtle living together in a small house in the forest. They all got along – except during dinnertime. You know – sparrows don’t eat bones and cats don’t eat acorns. There was some major conflict resolution and an eventual happy ending. The wonderful illustrations brought the story to life... I ended up digging the book up and reading it to my own daughter decades later -- she sort of liked the story but I think she preferred Monster Munchies!