Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Remembering First Books, and How You Can Donate a Book without Paying a Penny

Wow, it's been marvelous to read my co-bloggers' posts and all our wonderful readers' comments about their first books. Before I share my thoughts on the topic, I want to remind you that you can help donate books to children in need via First Book without paying a penny! See details at the end of this post.

Like Jeanne Marie, I grew up in a book-less home. I've blogged before about how the first books I can recall in our house were a set of World Book Encyclopedia, which my parents purchased from a door-to-door salesman. So I smiled at the comment Patrica Nesbitt shared on JoAnn's kick-off post. Patricia's first books, a set of Childcraft books, also arrived in her home thanks to a door-to-door salesman! And I have to say that I'm especially grateful to Sherry York for her comment on Monday confessing that she read the encyclopedia "from A to Z." Now I don't feel so geeky for doing the same thing. :-)

But I think my favorite comment came from our friend Professor Roxanne Owens of DePaul University who wrote in response to Esther's post: "I couldn't get enough Pat the Bunny, Put Me in the Zoo, Go Dogs Go, and a Fish Out of Water . . . ." Roxanne's comment reminded me how much my son loved Pat the Bunny, one of his first books. She motivated me to dig out his well-worn (or I should say, well-loved) copy:

But I'd forgotten all about the companion book he had, which I discovered while looking for Pat the Bunny:
Judging from the condition of Pat the Cat, my son must have loved it even more than Pat the Bunny!
Can you see the tape holding the edges of the right-hand page together?

He lost the "pencil" that was attached to the string, and the last page is completely separated.
But Teddy still squeaks!


We were fortunate to be able to provide our son with books from his infancy on. Along with Pat the Bunny and Pat the Cat, he had bathtub books, board books, little Golden Books (I still have his Runaway Bunny and Color Kittens) and a children's Bible that he received from his godfather. It makes me sad to think there are many children who have never had a book of their own. That's why I was thrilled when JoAnn suggested that the TeachingAuthors not only make a donation to First Book, but that we use our blog to get the word out about this terrific organization. With your help, we can provide over 300 new books to children in need. And it won't cost you a penny, as you can see below. However, some of you have asked about how to make your own donation to First Book. You can do that easily by heading over to the First Book "Get Involved" page and clicking on the "donate now" button.

Now, to add to our TeachingAuthors' First Book donation (for free!), you need only post 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 posted from December 1-31 and we'll post periodic updates, like this one JoAnn shared Monday. 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. We're hoping to send 315 books to children in need!

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 how you made your own First Book donation. Then help us spread the word by inviting all your friends to comment, too. Our special thanks to Lee Wind for doing just that on the official SCBWI blog, and also for his kind words about our blog. If you don't know about the SCBWI blog, be sure to check it out!

Wishing all of you a blessed holiday season.
Happy writing!
Carmela

26 comments:

Ellen Reagan said...

I don't know if the Little Golden Book's Little Red Riding Hood was my first book, but it was the first book I ever remember writing in (my name, on every page, over "Hood," which I crossed out). I can still picture that book's cover.

Here's to First Books!

The Mom Quiz said...

Two years ago I tracked down a copy of one of my first beloved books, and my adult self was a little disappointed with my taste as a young reader! It was THE STORY OF BUBBLES THE WHALE, about the whale that I saw a few times at Marineland as a child. This story of the capture of two whales had such an unrealistic happiness to it...but I just remembered it as a perfectly happy story about whale friends.

Barbara Younger said...

My first beloved book was a Golden Book called Baby's House. My mom found me a new copy about twenty years ago. I can look at the pages and remember how it felt to look at them when I was three.

Love your book donation idea. Good work!

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks, all, for supporting our cause with your comments. Ellen, love the story of writing your name in Little Red Riding Hood.
Yes, Mom Quiz, sometimes when we go back to look at favorite books from our childhood, they don't quite live up to our memories. I think the ones that do are the ones that become classics.
Barbara, I've never seen Baby's House. It's great that you can still recall how that book made you feel.

Ardyth said...

My first book that I really fell in love with was SPUNKY, a Black Beauty style story about a pony living through a series of bad masters before finding his beloved former master. From then on I loved all things to do with horses and was obsessed with books.

Great fundraiser!

Anonymous said...

The first book I remember is "Peanuts the Pony." I was four or five. I did not read it myself but made my parents check it out so many times that eventually the library retired it. I have been horse-obsessed all my life.

I grew up in a house full of books and was read to by my parents at bed time. I read to my own daughter every night until she was 11. Children definitely should have their own books, with their own worlds to explore.

Sharon Creech said...

Love that you've formed this blog!

sruble said...

What a great project for a great cause! Two of my all time favorite books when I was a child (that I still have) are Susie Mariar by Lois Lenski and a book about a dog named Whiskers (not at home so I can't check the title and the internet isn't helping). I loved those two books! There was a third one that both my mom and I remember being a favorite, but we don't know the title/author/illustrator. Wish I still had that book too.

Thanks for donating to First Book! I'm planning to donate to them at the end of the month.

Luana said...

I was lucky enough to grow-up in a home filled with wonderful books and don't really remember my first book. I do remember the first book I couldn't put down. It was a short chapter book called the adventures of Cuddles and Chuckles. Thanks for finding a neat way to give to promote First Books and give back!
Luana

Susan Halko said...

I don't remember my first book, but I have a lot of favorites that I have read to my kids--over and over again! Some of them are Big Red Barn; Cookie Monster and the Cookie Tree; Brown Bear, Brown Bear; and more recently Arnie the Doughnut.

Beverly Diehl said...

What a great idea! The Pokey Little Puppy was one of my favorites, and Margaret Wise Brown's The Sleepy Book. Green Eggs and Ham, and The Cat in the Hat.

Janet Fox said...

One of the first books I remember was The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Funny that, because I'm now writing a middle grade fantasy with talking animals (thank you, CS). First books are so important.

Thanks for doing this!!

Jean Martino said...

I loved so many books as a child. One of my early favorites was a Little Golden Book that came with real bandages in the back! I have shared many of my own favorites with my children, from "Blueberries for Sal" to "Snowy Day" and of course, all the Dr. Seuss books. But the one we had to read over and over was a book called "Firehouse Dogs". We can still recite almost the whole thing by heart!

Debbie Dadey said...

I don't remember anything before the little orange biographies about famous people as children that my school library had (they were old then!). I didn't have many books at home so I reread the same ones over and over, like my Cherry Ames Student Nurse book and my biography of Helen Keller.

Katie said...

My brother and I loved a very colorful book called Seals on Wheels. I believe he still has it stashed away somewhere.

It truly astounds me to think that there are children who do not have a single book. My brother and I grew up with tons of books (many of which we kept), and my children have had books since they were born.

Thank you for your support of this cause. Every child should have the opportunity to get "lost" in a book.

Anonymous said...

I don't remember having very many books in our home growing up, but we spent a lot of time at the library. I signed my daughter up for a book club when she was 6 months old. She is now 22, but held onto all those books so her child would have a headstart on reading when the time came.

Sandy Brehl said...

I love this project! Thanks, JoAnn, for sharing a great idea. My earliest "book" memories center around two ancient anthologies of retold classics by Watty Piper, published by Munk and Platt in the 30's.
I am now the proud family curator of Folk Tales Children Love, a collection of 3-4 page stories with only a few illustrations each. The four of us siblings clustered into someone's bed nightly to have Mom or Dad read us a bedtime story (-ies). No amount of repetition made us less eager, and both parents were expert story-readers, complete with special voices and sound effects.
At that time we were lucky to have even these books.
I'll care for this family treasure, complete with torn pages and crayon scribbles, until the time comes to pass it on to the next generation.

Rachel said...

I don't remember my first book either. Growing up on a farm in Michigan we were almost always outside making our own stories as we played. But we did have several Little Golden Books, and when I got older I received Highlights in the mail and adored that magazine. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to "give" in a fun way.

Lizann Flatt said...

I had a large illustrated version of "A Child's Garden of Verses" and I loved having that read to me. I loved my "Little Cottontail" Golden Book, my "Peppermint" about a white kitten, "Yertle the Turtle and other tales," the book that had the poem about the puffins in it, and I could go on. I still have many of them today, I've collected the Ladybird fairytales that I constantly checked out of the school's library.

I'm lucky to share those books with my kids along with contemporary books I hope they'll think of as beloved classics when they get older.

Thanks for doing this book donation! I can't imagine my childhood without books, and I'm very happy to help you donate books to kids.

Carmela Martino said...

Wow, thanks everyone for your comments, and for sharing your wonderful stories!

Richard Moore said...

My first book was Henry's Red Wagon -- about a loved wagon, left out in the rain and then repainted -- with the classic last line: "Bessie, I'm a little messy." My folks read it to me, I read it to my kids, and it will be read to my new granddaughter.

rhondahayter said...

I can't remember my first book sad to say, but I certainly remember my little brother's; THE DUCK ON THE TRUCK. My brother was two, and I was six and he loved that book so much I read it to him at least twice a night for ages. He thought I was an utter goddess for having the power of reading,and I have to admit, I didn't think he was far wrong. My brother and I are close to this day.

Claudine Gueh said...

This is a great cause! My first storybook is a palm-sized 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.' I still have it after almost 30 years!

Sue Ekins said...

I don't remember my family owning books but I sure did LOVE the library. I remember reading Nancy Drew books when I was in third grade. With my own kids, we began with Pat the Bunny and they loved the "Tom and Pippo" books when they were toddlers.

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks for the continued comments, everyone. Only two days left for our drive. If you know anyone else who'd like to participate, please help spread the word.

The Write Now! Coach said...

I have so many favorite first books. The ones I give to every new baby I meet are Sandra Boynton's lovely collection of rhyming tales like Moo, Baa, La, La, La! My kids can still remember the words to these as we read them so many times!