Friday, December 16, 2011

What Was Your First Book? Post a Comment So Kids Can Have One Without Spending A Penny ~

Howdy Campers!  YES!  TeachingAuthors are singing and dancing the praises of, which gives books to kids.  In fact, for every comment on our blog until December 31st, we'll donate $1 to FirstBook (up to $225).  Tell us about your memories of your own first book and read the wonderful responses we've gotten so far on JoAnn's first post, Esther's post, Jeanne Marie's post, Mary Ann's post, JoAnn's update, and Carmela's post.
Some of you have asked about how to make your own donation to FirstBook. Simply head over to the First Book "Get Involved" page and click on "donate now".

I laughed when I read that Ellen Reagan read Little Red Riding Hood, crossing out the word "hood" on each page and writing in her own name.
Little Red Riding Hood and a friend discussing their favorite books...

The comments you've posted have brought back memories of Harold and The Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (which I count among my favorite books to this day), the fairy tales my father read in the dim light of our bedroom each night, The Birthday and Pitschi, both by Hans Fischer, poetry Mom read aloud, and Dorothy Parker stories, too--which kept all of us laughing, laughing, laughing.  Ahh...memories.  They're truly locked in our DNA...
by April Halprin Wayland

First, book.
Then, lap.
Then skin-to-skin.x

The story settles deep within,

the horse and both enchanted twins
stay in you as you age.

Then one day velvet wings on stage
will part and you'll perform the page.
And in that hall will be a child 
and she'll be hooked.x

But first? 

Of course.
But first a book.x
poem and drawing (c) 2011 April Halprin Wayland, all rights reserved

And speaking of books and giving--consider giving one or all in the Poetry Tag Time series.  Just released: Gift Tag, the third eBook anthology of children's poetry by fabulous author, poet, and anthologist Janet Wong and equally fabulous author, professor, and anthologist Dr. Sylvia Vardell.  Gift Tag is the first eBook of new holiday poems by top poets for children and teens...including, ahem, yours well as Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Lee Bennett Hopkins, J. Patrick Lewis, and more...all for the bargain price of $2.99 each.  And you don't even need an can download these to your computer!

Happy Poetry Friday! And check out how
New York is incorporating haiku into street safety signs ~
(Ya gotta love Book Aunt's tag line: "Because other people give you clothes and video games for your birthday!")

This is the last TeachingAuthors post until the new year (as Carmela says, we're taking a blogging break).  Come back on January 2, 2012 (!) when we'll tell you how much you helped raise for FirstBooks!
drawing (c) 2011 April Halprin Wayland


GatheringBooks said...

Hmm... that's a tough question. I can't seem to remember my first book... must have been Cat in the Hat if I recall correctly.

"The story settles deep within,
the horse and both enchanted twins
stay in you as you age"

- birth of enchantment - story of all stories.

Thank you for sharing this. And hopefully you do get to raise 225 for such a worthy cause

Anonymous said...

I loved stories of heroes and adventures as a child. However, I remember more distinctly the books I read to my child, and I especially liked the "George and Martha" books written by James Marshall.

Linda B said...

I've posted about early book memories earlier. I wish you well in your fund raising. It's been such a pleasure to read everyone's memories! I'm enjoying all the poetry e-books, the first ones purchased for a new IPad, plus thanks for sharing about the NYC haikus. How great is that!

Carmela Martino said...

Love your poem, April, especially these lines:
>>Then one day velvet wings on stage
will part and you'll perform the page<<
Also, want to add that I LOVE the new Gift Tag poetry anthology. I want our readers to know they can download it from Barnes and Noble for their Nook at:
It was the first ebook I downloaded for my new NOOKcolor!

Tara said...

I can'tremembermy first book - more a reflection of the challenged state of my memory these days than the quality of that first book I'm sure. But I doremember the first book I readmy kids - Margaret Wise Brown's"Goodnight Moon." Such a trasure - and I still have the copy.
Thank you for the treasure trove of poetry and book news today!

Joyce Ray said...

The title of my first book memory is lost to me, but Belinda was a wooden doll who wandered through forest and meadow looking for a friend. When she returned home, she discovered that her owner's father had carved just the friend she longed for. Anyone know this story title?

Good luck with your fundraiser for FirstBook and thanks for honoring the experience of a shared book with a poem!

Anonymous said...

Enchanting poem, April. I loved it.

maria horvath said...

Love the poem, April.

Your question brings back such a happy memory. My grandmother had sent me a Primer that my mother used to teach me to read German. Then, one afternoon, she handed me the book with a quite formal gesture and said, Now you can do this by yourself.

I was hooked! Still am.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Thank you, Myra, Carmela, Val and Maria--glad you liked the poem! :-)

And thanks to all who have commented so far today: Anonymous (can you thank Anonymous???), Linda at TeacherDance (hi again!)and Tara.

Joyce--your story rings a distant bell...but I can't remember how I spent this morning, let alone a book title from years ago! Hopefully one of our readers can tell us that title ~

And Maria...when your grandmother handed you the book...I got's a picture book-worthy story!

Caity1031 said...

Although I can't recall all the many Little Golden Books that we read to me (though I seem to remember something about Dr Dan), the first I remember reading on my own was "Winnie the Pooh", when I was 6.

Sophia Chang said...

So great to hear about the donation!

I read He Bear, She Bear after feeling competitive with my cousin. Been a die-hard Berenstein Bears fan since.
He Bear, She Bear: How Competition Made Me Read

Karen I. Shanbrom said...

I'm not sure I remember whether these are my FIRST books, but I know I read - and loved - "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street" and "The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins" at a fairly early age. Who would think that those books would come to mind, tonight, all these years later? I guess you never know what will stick with you. I also grew up with Dr. Seuss, as so many of us did. Ah, memories.....

April Halprin Wayland said...

Thanks for adding your voices, your memories, and thus, additional donations, Caity1031, Sophia, and Karen!

(What WOULD we have done without the Berensteins and Dr. Seuss?)

Mary Lee said...

It's not my FIRST book, but it's one that is dear to my heart and holds in its words the sound of my father's voice: THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. My father visits me occasionally in dreams, and this or that might remind me of him...more and more infrequently as time passes. But all I have to do is start the story in my head ('Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house...) and I am back at his feet on Christmas Eve, my brother there beside me, my mom in the other chair with the Bible open in her lap and ready for the reading of the Christmas story. I hear his voice too, on those cold early mornings when I smile and recite, "The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave a luster of midday to objects below" or on windy days when I see this sight: "As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky..."

Judy Herman said...

I loved Margaret Wise Brown's THE COLOR KITTENS -- simple but lyrical verse about the magic of mixing colors to create new ones. My mother said I astounded fellow passengers on the bus by "reading" the book aloud (actually reciting, of course) when I was two.

Ray Bravo said...

The first book I remember reading on my own was "Tom Swift and his Rocket Ship". There was a series of Tom Swift Jr. books and I loved them all. Tom Swift was a young inventor and adventurer. His stories helped develop my imagination. I was his companion in all his adventures.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Oh, Mary Lee--I can hear your father, too--what a wonderful dad! And Judy--you were already on your path to words, more words!

Thanks for stopping by, Ray--I love the way you put it--you were Tom Swift's companion!

Chris said...

The book titles I have just read from other posts bring back many memories of my Saturday mornings at the Woodridge Public Library. I remember the series that I would read over and over again more than the picture books that I must have had as a younger reader. My favorite series' had girls as main characters: The All-of-a-Kind Family, The Besty Series by Carolyn Haywood, The Boxcar Children(okay- this one had boys), and, of course, Little House on the Prairie.

Anonymous said...

The first real book I remember reading as a child was THE BEARS OF BLUE RIVER - set in the Indiana frontier in the early 19th century (where I happened to be living) It really grabbed me - in many ways - adventure, excitement, romance. Little Balser's hair-raising encounters with angry bears in the wilderness - and narrow escapes! Couldn't put this book down! And him saving the life of a pretty young girl - tugged at my schoolboy heartstrings! -- John Flick

April Halprin Wayland said...

Chris--I just recently read the All-Of-A-Kind Family, though I wish I'd read it when I was a child. John, thanks so much for sharing that first book--danger, adventure and romance all in one--what a great intro to literature!

Cynthia Cotten said...

I can't remember my first book--when I try, so many books crowd around saying "Me, me!" Little Golden books--one of my favorites was "The Animals of Farmer Brown" (I think that's the title), and I loved almost anything illustrated by Eloise Wilkin. A.A. Milne--"Winnie the Pooh" and the 2 volumes of poetry ("Now We Are Six" and "When We Were Very Young"). "Harold and the Purple Crayon." "Make Way for Ducklings". What I remember most is growing up in a home filled with books. My parents were both big readers whose greatest gift to me and my siblings was the love of story--something I passed along to my own kids.

KateCoombs said...

I've been thinking and thinking--I really can't remember the first book I read. But my mom says my dad used to read us nursery rhymes when we were small. She says, "I remember laughing my head off one time when I heard him say, 'Itta skit, itta skat.'"

Later I know I loved fairy tales, especially Grimms' and a collection of tales from the Arabian Nights that my grandmother gave me. My favorite fantasy when I was young was Taash and the Jesters by Ellen Kindt McKenzie. I also remember reading all of the Nancy Drew books at one point.

Book memories--just lovely!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Cynthia,welcome to TeachingAuthors! Yes, readers create readers.

And Kate--it's like rolling around in a really great dessert, right? (Okay...that sounds odd...)

Norm Cowie said...

Fortunately, I was always surrounded by books, comics and more books. It probably helped that video games and cable TV weren't yet invented. No way can I remember the first one, but the one I remember with the most fondness was The Cat in the Hat.

Loved that weird cat-dude. To this day, I'd like to find my own Thing One and Thing Two, who would do my bidding while I go out merrily to commit mayhem. Good stuff.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Thing One and Thing Two--good stuff indeed, Norm!

laurasalas said...

Fantastic poem, April! Love the ending.

I don't remember my first book, but one I read over and over when I was a kid was a big yellow book of jokes/riddles. I don't know the title, but I have a pic of me sleeping with it:

JoAnn Early Macken said...

Adorable picture, Laura! April, I love the poem, too!

MotherReader said...

I'm not sure what my first book was, but an early early favorite was The King by Dick Bruna.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Ah...Dick Bruna. Thanks for bringing him up, MotherReader. And I love all those ways to wrap a book, btw...

Helen Pyne said...

Back before the phrase “So many books, so little time!” kept running through my head, I’d indulge myself by reading and re-reading favorite novels countless times. While not my “first” book, one of my all-time favorite stories was my dog-eared copy of The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney. Reading about the five Pepper kids not only caught my imagination, but it shaped and influenced me greatly.

The series (1881-1916) centers on the lives of five children who live with their beloved widowed mother, Mamsie. Although dirt poor, they are the most jolly, affectionate and happy children you could ever imagine. Loyal to the core, innovative and saccharine-sweet, they charmed me to the core. I romanticized their lives & wanted to be part of their family. Suddenly, having a single sister seemed paltry and insufficient to me compared to the merry Pepper family brood. THe fact that they were poor just added to their charm, and to this day, I think of oldest daughter Polly’s enthusiastic but inept attempt to sweep the floor of the family’s rickety little brown house ever time I attempt to clean my own.

In the end, a “wealthy” gentleman rescues the family from their dire straits, but the characters’ qualities of love, loyalty and bravery always stuck with me. The fact that I was blessed with four wonderful and spirited children can, I suspect, be at least partially credited to my love for the five little Peppers.

Anonymous said...

I remember three that I loved, all from around the same time period, I think:
The Cat in the Hat Comes Back
Harry the Dirty Dog
Mog the Forgetful Cat
And I still have all three! :)

April Halprin Wayland said...

Clearly you're not Mog, Laurie...good memory for all three!