Monday, May 7, 2012

Celebrating Teachers, Books and Mothers

by Susan Berger
May is full of interesting and wacky holidays. (Do visit Brownielocks. It's a blogging gold mine. I have a special fondness for No Sock Day, No Diet Day and National Laughter Day)
This week’s celebratory events include, among other things, Teacher Appreciation Week.


Children’s Book Week,  and  Mothers Day.

I am going to steal a quote from Peanuts' Author Charles Schultz.
1. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winner for best actor and actress.

2. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?
Now try This
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.

Right On! 
I went to 19 schools and met many wonderful teachers who instilled in me a love of language and the written word.  They shine in my memory.  To me, teachers are the real stars.
I remember my second grade teacher reading To Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street  to our class.(Dr. Seuss' first book)  I fell in love with rhyme and the story.
Then in third grade, my dad gave me a book, Louisa May Alcott, Girl of Old Boston  - One of the "Childhood of Famous Americans" series and I fell in love with the process of reading on my own. I became a bookoholic.

That led to me writing books. But I began writing when my children were nine and thirteen, so I had some occasional free time. I stand in awe of the authors who raised small children, and managed to write at the same time.

Sonia Levitin, my writing teacher at UCLA, wrote Journey To America when her children were young. She said in class that sometimes her books took several complete.
Judy Blume  wrote The One in The Middle is a Green Kangaroo  when her children were in preschool. (Click on the link to read her account of that.)

I think everyone knows about J. K Rowling and I know there are many others who started writing when their children were still in diapers. 
There are also mothers that raise children, hold down a full time job, do the housekeeping and still manage to write. I do NOT know how you do it.

This category includes my critique partners, Kris, mother of six year old Tommy, writer blogger, full time financial consultant and author of three picture books that are going out and about,
Hilde, Victoria and Sam

and Hilde, mother of six year old Sam and Victoria, full time teacher and student, baseball coach, superb cookie maker, and author of a kick ass YA novel, Wet Foot Dry Foot. You both have my awe.

So here's to all of you: The Authors, The Teachers, The Mothers.  You are the ones we remember the most. Thank you for everything wonderful you brought into our lives.

These are not Hilde's Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies, But I wish they were.
How about you, Dear Readers - Who taught you to love reading?  What was the first book you fell in love with?


  1. My second grade teacher, Miss Wall, taught me to read, and when I became an adult she encouraged my writing. She's gone now, but I think of her often. I was so lucky to have her for a friend as well as a teacher.

  2. I learned to read in First Grade and was reading at Fifth Grade level by the end of the year (even though my teacher was TERRIBLE!! The books my parents read to me from the time I was a tiny tot are what made me love books. I can't remember which one was the first they shared with me because I was so young.

  3. Wanda, you were, indeed lucky. I think I had a better grasp of the mechanics in second grade, but the ability to read as fast as I wanted to didn't come in till third grade.
    Janet, you were really brainy early on. I know my mom read to me, but the book I remember her reading was Winnie the Pooh and I didn't really like it. I thought the writer was making fun of children. As it turns out, I was right. Milne wrote it for his wife and his son, Christopher, was not happy about it.

  4. What an enjoyable post Sue! And it had nothing to do with that fact that Tommy and I were mentioned in it *grin*.

  5. My first book was an Enid Blyton picture book “The bad Cockyolly bird” which I won for storytelling when I was 7. I still have this book – intact and right where I can reach to it. Perhaps I should seal it in an air-tight bag and protect it. But this book kick-started my habit of reading books.

  6. Hard to say which book I loved first. But I remember learning to read on books like Go Dog Go and the Dr. Seuss books that would come in the mail monthly. I used to love them. Awesome that it's teacher appreciation week too.

  7. I remember well. I was in first grade; the book was Ramona the Pest, and it is still one of my favorite books today.

    Thanks for this great post!

  8. Lovely post. I couldn't wait to stand up and read in real sentences at the front of class in primary one! I'd loved books all through nursery school and was lucky to have an older sister and brothers who encouraged me to read. I adored anything by Enid Blyton.

  9. My first grade teacher Mrs. Brand my fifth grade teacher Mrs. Allison always pushed me read challenging books. Until Mrs. Allison hooked me on the Nancy Drew series I was a reluctant reader.

  10. Chitra, I've read that book. And I am so glad it made you read and write because I love your stories. When I lived in Capetown I got hooked on Enid Blyton. So you and I have that in common, Rosemary. That was also when I discovered the "Shoes " books by Noel Streitfield. I also loved Beverly Cleary, Jeanne Marie. but I don't think I discovered her till later. It's funny, Donna. I talked to my Aunt Roz last night who is 90 and asked her what her favorite book was growing up and she said Nancy Drew. She read them all. I love having that connection with her.

  11. I taught a young friend of mine to read using Hop On Pop, Natalie. Now I keep writing phonics picture books because I think learning one sound at a time in a funny way makes readers.

  12. I learned how to read in French first and I honestly do not remember the name of the book. However, I do remember falling in love with the Curious George series and Pippi Long Stocking . The pictures in Curious George fascinated me . In my native Port-au-Prince I do not recall reading any picture books.

    Nicole Weaver
    Trilingual Children's Author

  13. To be honest, I can't recall who taught me to read. Must have been my first grade teacher. (I didn't attend kindergarten.) All I remember about her was that she was a nun and that she made me stay after school once for talking in class. (Boy, did I get into trouble for that!)
    And the first books I remember falling in love with were also the first books I remember our family owning--a set of World Book Encyclopedia! I could travel anywhere in the world, and learn about everything in the world, by reading those books. After all these years, I still own and love that set of books. They remind of what the world was like to me as a child.

  14. Grimm's Fairy Tales with beautiful illustrations, Enid Blyton, Aesop's Tales, Heidi and Anne of Green Gables were some of the books I read voraciously as a child.

  15. Hi Susan,
    We read little Golden Books at my house. And we had Childcraft book series (do you remember those?) They incorporated Mother Goose. We loved those rhymes. Favorites of my daughter, "Are You My Mother?" & "Go Dog Go" & anything by Dr. Seuss. I agree with Harry Potter posters: books are magical. (I read the HP books, two times, the first one, 3 times.) Read more, write more. Blessings.

  16. Nicole, I love the fact that you speak and write so many languages Carmela, that is so cool. We didn't own a set. Our walls were filled with books, but not those. (I do remember that my brother, Alex, took one of my mother's art books, full of nudes, to show and tell in second grade. The teacher was not happy. Farida, I read and loved all of those. Penelope, I never saw the childcraft sereis. It sounds good. and I don't want to talk about how many times I read Harry Potter. Have yu been to Pottermore yet?


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