A Look Back At My Bookish Upbringing
365 days ago, Bookish Notions was born. That’s right, my blog baby is officially one year old. I hope I have been a good blog parent, feeding it regularly and soothing it when it cries. But as I celebrate my blog’s birthday, it has me thinking about my own upbringing and what has made me the woman (girl?) I am today.
Obviously, my parents played a huge role. But a third party was there raising me right alongside them: books. Today on the one year anniversary of my blog I would like to take a moment to look back at the silent guardians that helped me understand the world, assisted me through the trials of adolescence, and continue to influence who I am.
Oddly enough, I have very little memory of being read to, although I know it happened. We always had books in the house and spent endless hours in the children’s section of the public library. I remember my parents teaching me to read at the kitchen table with flash cards made out my dad’s old business cards. Who would have thought that the skills they taught me at that red linoleum table would spark a lifelong love and even a career choice? Apparently my literacy skills also sparked quite the bout of independence because my bookish memories really start after I learned to read on my own.
The first books I remember reading on my own were fairy tales and bedtime stories—stories that only lasted a few pages but left a big impression. We had a book of fairy tales from around the world. It was a huge blue hardcover with an illustration on the cover of an admittedly unsettling genie. It was one of my favourite reads. I was upset to later find that my younger brother had decided he was a better artist than the illustrator and had scribbled all over the pictures with blue marker. No, little brother, it was not a colouring book!
Other books that stick out in my mind as early favourites are The Swiss Family Robinson, Charlotte’s Web, and anything by Robert Munsch. In Grade 5, my teacher introduced me to Kit Pearson’s Children of War trilogy. She read part of The Sky is Falling to my class and I was hooked. I quickly blew through the series, but wasn’t yet the devout bookworm I am today.
My love of books grew in Grade 6 when, through the Scholastic book fairs, I developed an obsession with unicorn books. I’m sure most young readers have certain topics they cling to like a life-raft. Well, for grades six and seven unicorns were mine. I read all of Vicki Blum’s Unicorns series and Mary Stanton’s Unicorns of Balinor. Then it was on to Bruce Coville’s Unicorn Chronicles.
But I really owe my love of books to my Grade 7 teacher, Mrs. McLean. Each week she would read us the first few chapters from a different book. She was the one who introduced me to Kenneth Oppel, Lemony Snicket and J.K. Rowling. Her classroom was lined with books and I would seek out the rest of the series she was reading from. It was also at that time I discovered Brian Jacques. I liked the cover of The Bellmaker and ordered it from the Scholastic Book Order. That one year set me up for the rest of my teenagehood. There was always a new Redwall or Series of Unfortunate Events book to look forward to each year and from there my reading interests continued to grow.
You’d be hard pressed to find me without a book in my bag. I was always reading; on the couch, on the bus, in bed, in the library, outside. It really didn’t matter where. Books were welcome companions I never tired of. My mom used to say to my siblings and me that she would buy us books as long as we read them. She soon had to amend that statement with me or she would have gone broke as my shelves began to overflow.
Now several years later, here I am pursuing a career in book publishing hoping to help create books for the next generation of young bookworms. If I can help inspire a love of reading like the one that glows inside of me, then I will be a happy person. This blog is a small part of that. And so, armed with the lessons I’ve learned over the past year, I will continue to send my bookish thoughts out into the void in hopes of reaching more booklovers and future bookworms.
I can’t wait to see what adventures the year ahead holds, both in the books and out of them.
Happy reading, dear followers.
Here’s to the year ahead.