Wednesday, November 12, 2008

books, books, books

photo by emilywjones 
Yesterday was one of my days to volunteer at Monkey's school.  Our library services about 1000 children and, of course, the teachers for those children.  It is an "open door" library, meaning that students can come to the library any time during school hours, at the discretion of the teacher.  This is in addition to the classes coming to the library for their Specials throughout the day.  Needless to say, it gets very busy.
Parent volunteers are a huge part of the library.  I think on any given day there are about 10-12 moms and dads that come to help the librarians during the school day.  I usually go for two hours in the morning, about twice a month.  Mostly, what I do is shelve books and sometimes check out books for the students.  Often, the brightest part of my morning is seeing last year's classmates of Monkey.  I'm not ashamed to say I had favorites.  Sometimes, I'll even see Monkey come in.  She never knows I'm there and I'll just observe her.  Then I just can't stand her not knowing, so I'll go and sit next to her and wait for her to acknowledge me.  It's pretty neat surprising her that way.
But yesterday, the librarians asked me to do a different job.  One that I hadn't done before, but it was one they had saved just for me.
I'm not sure how often our library gets new books, but when they arrive, the new books need to be checked over for publishing errors; is it bound properly, are the pages all there, did any of the text get cut off.  Then they have to be "broken in."  This is simply pressing a few of the pages open so that the book is easier for the children to open and read.  Who knew, right?
Yesterday was my day to sit down and break in new books.  There's something special about opening a new book.  Those fresh, crisp pages, brightly colored illustrations, bold text bouncing along, carrying the story through.  I can't even begin to tell you all the books I looked through, but the librarians busted me more than once giggling to myself.
There was Petunia, the goose that learned that wisdom comes from reading a book, not carrying it around (she blew up the barnyard!).
The Three Billy Goats Gruff - remember that?  It brought back a memory of mine from elementary school of making paper bag puppets and putting on a puppet show.  Our class rooms had half-doors, so we went in the hallway and used the bottom half of the door as our stage.  But I can't remember if I had a goat or the troll.
And there's The Three Silly Girls Grub and The Armadillos Tough (I think), which were based from the Three Billy Goats Gruff.
I creeped my way through spider books, laughed at a giraffe with a tongue up its nose, lingered over beautiful watercolor illustrations of a coral reef.
I read about Lou Gehrig, JFK and Jefferson.
I learned why the Jolly Roger is called that.  (Oh, he was a jolly old pirate!)
I giggled over a dog that got a kitten that "if he ignored it, it would go away." 
I saw pumpkins and apples and Christmas and variations of the Three Little Pigs and Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
I spent two hours immersed in books and I loved every bit of it.  The Librarian joked that I owed her one, because I was doing one of their favorite things.  I think she was right.


Tara said...

I am really lucky because both my children absolutely love books and I have the best times sat reading with them.
Some of their books are just brilliant - I bet it would be so cool to be able to write a really good children's book.

Kool Aid said...

Tara - Little Man's fascination with books waned a little for a while, but now he's discovered the I Spy books and is back into books. Monkey is an excellent reader also and loves books.

The librarian I worked with commented on how competitive writing children's books is, so there are a lot of people that agree with you, including me.