Snort was his name and he was a big scary earth moving tractor. I was 4 or 5 years old and for a little boy what could be better than a story that has a tractor as one of its characters? You may think it’s strange that I remember Snort. But I’ve been asking a lot of people about their favorite childhood book recently and my experience is pretty common. Everyone, it seems, remembers a book from their childhood.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. There is a lot of evidence that early childhood literacy has a profound affect on someone’s long term educational and economic success. Yet, I hadn’t realized how powerful those early memories were until I started to ask.
For example, I asked one of our local elected officials if he could name his favorite childhood book. Without a moment’s hesitation, he said that it was The Little Engine That Could. But apparently, that revelation (and he did seemed surprised at how quickly he remembered it) wasn’t enough for him. He then immediately launched into a discussion of another book that he remembered from early childhood – “A Child’s First Book of Gardening”. That he spoke about both books with such emotion didn’t surprise me. I have learned that the power of early books stays with us for a lifetime. It’s like that one teacher that we remember 40 years after graduating from elementary school that made an impact on our life.
Stop for moment. Can you remember your favorite childhood book? If so, go to “MY FAVORITE CHILDHOOD BOOK” and tell the world. Tell us what the book is, but also tell us why you remember it. Children whose parents read to them enter Kindergarten with a vocabulary something like 4 times larger than kids whose parents don’t read to them. In honor of John Lennon’s birthday, “imagine” if every child in our community had access to books in their earliest years. Imagine the potential to close the gap between the educational “haves and have nots” (the achievement gap).
And oh by the way, if you’re interested Snort is the tractor that saves the lost baby bird in “Are You My Mother?” That was my favorite book – something about helping others in need struck a chord with me.