Monthly Archives: May 2014

What was Your Favorite Book as a Child?

by Suzie Brache, guest writer


Growing up, one of my most beloved children’s books was Bread and Jam for Frances, by Russell and Lillian Hoban. I was recently delighted to learn the book turned 50 years old in January. I can still remember Frances at the breakfast table singing a silly song about eggs, while munching on her favorite bread and jam. She loved it so much she wanted to eat it at every meal. I always thought, what a lovely idea! The rest of the story shows just how this plan works out when she does.

All of the Hoban’s Frances books are on my favorites list, but this story stands out among the rest. I remember loving the furry little badger who seemed to have all the same problems I did–at school, at bedtime, with friends, and even what I wanted to eat! I could see myself in Frances, even at a young age.

Many more stories came into my life through childhood, but there were a few special favorites I wanted read aloud to me again and again and again. It was always a good time to hear a good story. When I was old enough to read by myself, I would often reach for my comforting old friends in the dog-eared pages – even just to simply take a quick peek at the illustrations. It was like feeding a craving, and feeling peaceful, nostalgic, and satisfied all at once. It still happens today. This is the joy of reading.

Our society is highly focused on new things these days, and we pass this trend on to our children. We often look for the newest, shiniest toys and gadgets. So many new books and authors are fabulous, yet we can’t forget the classics. Tried-and-true classic children’s books will never go out of style, and we need to share them and keep them alive. Reading classic favorites together is a wonderful way of connecting and relating to each other at all ages, and forming a bond through reading and loving books.

So, what was your favorite book as a child? Can you see the cover in your mind? What did the illustrations look like inside? What colors stood out? Can you still recite the words by heart? Can you remember who read it to you? Or did you read it to yourself?

This is something you will hold dear all your life. So share it with a child you know! Tell them everything you love about it. Talk about it. Share your memories of it. Keep that book alive, and tell the story with the same excitement and warm smile you have every time you see it. Just seeing your love for the book will inspire the child to want to read more and discover their own favorite stories for years to come.

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Filed under classics, family reading

“So! How are the Children?”

Among East African Masai people, the traditional greeting is “So! How are the children?” This greeting is much more than just a custom; it is a question that defines their culture. When the Masai ask this of each other, they expect an honest answer and are prepared to drop what they are doing to provide what’s needed. When the children are well, the community is well! Child wellness includes both physical and mental health. A good night’s sleep, nutritious food, and regular exercise help children’s bodies stay strong. Good mental health begins with your loving support and guidance that builds your child’s self esteem and resiliency–the ability to bounce back from the little and big bumps in life. Reading books that have characters that work through problems a child may face such as disappointment, fear, and loss teach the words your child needs to talk about his or her feelings. Learning to talk about a situation can make your child feel better by acknowledging the emotions that arise and thinking of solutions together. May is Children’s Mental Health Awareness month, a great time to read books that encourage your child to develop a positive self-awareness and learn about all the feelings that are a normal part of growing up. For more information about child wellness and resources available in Ithaca, NY, visit the Collaborative Solutions Network website at and Family and Children’s Services of Ithaca at Here are some books about SometimesBambalooemotions that may interest your young child:

Books about anger: “When Sophie Gets Angry–Really, Really Angry…” by Molly Bang; “Mean Soup” by Betsy Everitt; “Sometimes I’m Bombaloo” by Rachel Vail, illustrated by Yumi Heo

Books about fears: “Wemberly Worried” by Kevin Henkes; “The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn; “Sheila Rae the Brave” by Kevin Henkes

Books about all kinds of emotions: “How are you Peeling? Foods with Moods” by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers; “Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods that Make My Day,” by Jamie Lee Curtis; “Quick as a Cricket” by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood “I Like Me!” by Nancy Carlson

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Filed under family reading, Feelings