Hello to our Read With Me friends!
I’m so glad you’ve decided to join us and have clicked your way onto our blog! This is the inaugural post, so I thought you might want to know a bit about me (one of the Read With Me booksellers) and my life-long love of reading.
So to begin, my name is Brittany, and if you ever come into the shop to a redhead who is working, odds are it’s me! My expertise definitely lies mostly in Young Adult novels, especially the realistic ones (both historical or contemporary), but as I’ve been working, I’ve gotten to read the firsts of so many of the series I didn’t have when I was growing up. Let me tell you, there are some fantastic series out now that I wish I could have had as a child.
I was the kid who quickly fell in love with reading, finding myself enraptured by the opportunity to escape into different worlds, ones that felt like they belonged only to me. The Magic Tree House books were my first series that I ever read all by myself, and they also led me to proclaim quite loudly while on a school field trip that I hoped to one day grow up to be Mary Pope Osborne. While this never actually occurred, it was the beginning of a pattern for me—books began to define my dream jobs.
After reading Balto in first grade, I quickly found myself determined to become a musher and to race in the Iditarod. I would tell everyone that my dream dog was a Siberian Husky, and that one day, I’d have a whole team of them. In fact, instead of imaginary friends, I had a host of imaginary dogs! Books had awakened my sense of imagination, and I gave myself over willingly.
I read many more series, falling in love with most of them, and I felt as though each individual book was an adventure I got to embark on. I was the kid who got in trouble for reading during class and definitely read in dim lighting significantly past my bedtime (I had convinced my parents I was afraid of the dark so that they would leave the closet light on).
For me, reading was full of whimsy and adventure, but I also realized at a young age that reading didn’t manifest itself the same way in every kid. I have three brothers, and all four of us kids had different attitudes towards reading: two of my brothers hated reading, the other brother’s favorite book in high school was A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, and I was the one who adventured to the library weekly to get an armful of books.
One of my brothers really struggled with reading, and I came to understand later that he didn’t have the voice in his head that most of us get when reading and writing. You know, the voice in your head that’s almost like an echo that comes milliseconds after reading or writing the word? That one.
While reading for me conjured up images and had different voices for each character, his consisted of only the words on the page. It didn’t come alive for him the way it did for me. I then found the types of books that did some of the work for you, and I read them out loud to him. I wanted to see him fall in love with reading the same way I had, and to a degree, he did. He and I both loved reading the Geronimo Stilton series together, and I loved that.
One of my neighbors much preferred to hear books rather than read them. For some people, reading is just harder and takes more energy, so the two of us could often be found huddled together with a book, me reading out loud to her. I would make every character have a distinct voice, and try to act it out as much as possible. Oftentimes, we’d end up laughing at me trying to mimic characters and their facial expressions.
I thought it was fun to be able to share the books I loved with the people around me. I liked the adventure of reading it myself, but there’s a certain joy that comes from reading together. The words seem even more whimsical when spoken aloud rather than read in a solitary environment.
So, I challenge you to pick up a book, find someone, and share the magic of it. Find a child, grandchild, friend, or parent, and sit down and read with them. After all, it’s one of the things we cherish here at Read With Me.