Thursday, February 03, 2011


I did a little interview with my mom about getting us kids (in particular me) to read and other things. For whatever reason she sort of stuck a lot of the answers to the questions together so I'm going to post this without the questions. To make this make sense, Bridget and Kaila are my sisters. Bridget is 2 years younger and Kaila is 7. I'll be posting the rest of the interview on my blog in the coming days. I hope that my "story" will give kids with attention problems hope!


ME: I remember you used to read us a lot of picture books. Can you name us some of your favorites? What were some of Bridget and my favorites?

MOM: One of my favorites was Chris Van Allsburg's The Wreck of the Zephyr. I can still picture the illustrations even though it has probably been twenty years since I have looked at the book. I also loved the sense of mystery and wonder it provoked. It's funny but something about it reminds me of a picture of an imaginary scene we had hanging in my childhood home. I used to stare at it and imagine going there. I called it "babyland". I guess the connection was just that it stirred my imagination. We did not own picture books with colorful illustrations

You of course loved the wild and wacky, In The Night Kitchen. And when I was desperate to get you all to sleep, I would choose the lilting refrain of Goodnight Moon. I loved the colors in those illustrations.

ME: Was there anything you got sick of reading?

MOM: The only books I used to get bored reading were the ones which I guess were supposed to teach kids vocabulary. I remember one that was given to you that was sort of like a picture encyclopedia, with pictures of everyday objects and little bears thrown in to make it more kid friendly. I really avoided books with crappy illustrations.

ME: Kaila (my third sister and seven years younger) seemed to be a little different than us. What were some of her favorite books? I remember she liked a book about a bear by himself. It doesn’t seem like a book that Bridget and I would like. Perhaps this is because we had each other and Kaila WAS by herself… in a way?

MOM: Bridget loved the Berenstain Bear books. I think Kaila did too. Kaila did love Bear by Himself. It was such a quiet little book. I liked it too, I guess because I agreed with the message, which was that sometimes you are your own best company. I think so many kids think they are "losers" when they are alone. But this book put a real positive spin on being alone.

ME: I remember that you read both picture books and novels. It was a mixture. I really loved that. Why did you decide to do that?

MOM: Bridget and Kaila both liked to collect the Berenstain Bear books. Bridget especially loved reading chapter books together. It probably took us quite awhile to get through some of them. I think she liked looking forward to the next chapter. We read the Roald Dahl books, BFG, and Witches. We also read Robinson Crusoe and another book--So Far from the Bamboo Grove--together. She remembers that Aunt Carol got us a signed copy of that one. Bridget did think that made it special. I think going from picture books to novels was a natural progression as you got older and developed bigger vocabularies. Its funny, you didn't like to read on your own, but you did have a good vocabulary and always did very well on standardized tests.

ME: Dad also used to make up stories sometimes and I think both Bridget and I loved that. I think it really encouraged us to be creative. Do you remember that? Did you ever participate?

MOM: Yes, Dad did enjoy making up stories. He would be a natural at that. He is the best one in both of our families at recounting funny things that have happened to him , in a very entertaining way. I think you are too by the way. You have a knack for mimicking people. I did make up stories too, but I think Dads were more memorable. You may not recall this, but I did tell you a made up story about walking upside down. i really used to love looking at the ceiling and pretending to walk on it.

ME: Did your parents read to you when you were little?

MOM: My mother always read to my brother and I. We had an old anthology of children's literature. I think I just loved the fact that we were all snuggled up together peacefully. We had her undivided attention in such a positive way. I could tell that she was enjoying it too. That is what I enjoyed most about reading to my children. The stories in those old books were less memorable than the time spent together. However, I do remember the first book that was ever given to me..

ME: I know there wasn’t a good selection back then and books were only printed in 2 or 3 colors, but do you have any favorites from then?

MOM: My sister gave me Eloise. I just loved it. I think it was the first book that I could call mine. It had a lot more illustrations than the old books and they were colorful and funny.


Grace Lin said...

Hi Meghan! This is really interesting, but ( to me) a bit hard to follow. Do you think you could put the questions in before your Mom's answers (like how you did your other post "my lack of skills..")? It'd be really helpful, at least to me!

Meghan McCarthy said...

I will try! The problem is that she combined some things and on other things didn't really answer the question at all. But Perhaps I will rewrite the question to match. I will let you all know when I do that!