The joy of real books

Today the removal company man came round to ‘assess the damage’.

He took it all in his stride as he peered into the garden sheds, opened the door to the summer house – and by summer house I mean large shed crammed with even more stuff – and bravely stuck his head up into the loft. His only real comment was ‘You’ve got a few books, I see’.

As I start to prepare for the move it really is dawning on me just how many books we’ve managed to get into this house. And yes, a huge proportion of these are children’s books! But in the last 24 hours I’ve had two more examples of why this just makes me so glad.

The first was when my husband whispered in the car, “It’s on its way!”

And I knew exactly what he was talking about. We’ve all been waiting for this moment for months.

The thing in question, winging it’s way to us, is the latest ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ book by Cressida Cowell.

He spoke in hushed tones to keep it from the two in the back who were listening to the audio version for the millionth time. (By the way, if you haven’t come across David Tennant reading these books please stop looking at this and go get them right now, it is utterly fantastic. As vouched for by parents who have also listened a million times and are still happy to do so!)

But I just couldn’t keep it to myself, and the screams that came from the back said it all.

Those screams of excitement are why I love books and why I’m so pleased that we’ve passed that onto the boys.

The second thing that happened was with my smallest boy. He is following in big brother’s footsteps and along with cuddlies he goes to bed with a stash of books under his quilt. Over the last few weeks he has come home from school eager to read to me but as we pick up his designated ‘reading book’ all his va-va-voom disappears. He rolls about, he’s hungry, he’s too tired, and basically he does a very good impression of a boy who doesn’t ‘do’ books.

But then he asks to read to me again, choosing instead ‘One Ted Falls out of Bed’ by Julia Donaldson and ‘The Jolly Christmas Postman’.

And he sits and reads the whole lot to me.

With such joy and pride and determination that it knocks me sideways.

These are books he wanted to read. And what a difference that made!

His room is full of books he has heard and loved, books with characters he cares about, and with illustrations that excite and enrich his experience of the story.

The absolute joy of real books.

I know there is a huge ongoing debate about Phonics v real books but real books give kids so much more. And I for one am glad we need an extra van for them all when we move!

Check out what Michael Rosen has to say on the matter.

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