Or, anytime, really. But, it wasn’t until I became a mom that I really began to savor that smell.
To be honest, I never knew it as a child. When I look back at my earliest memories, I recall a lot-good and bad. But, there is not a single memory of anyone reading to or with me. I cannot name a favorite picture book from my childhood; I don’t have one. Picture books were not a top-priority for my teenaged parents. Later, picture books were not on my single-mom’s priority list either. The weird thing is that I never knew what I didn’t have; I wasn’t conscious of the fact that my childhood was devoid of picture books. It wasn’t until my son came along…that it hit me-hard. I’ll never forget that night. We were curled up together, lights dimmed, reading our way through Goodnight Moon for the 100th time. He looked up, and asked me a very simple question, “Mom, what was your favorite bedtime story when you were little?” As I struggled to grasp hold of the memory, I could hear the sound of my tears, dropping onto the pages of the board book. I couldn’t answer; I didn’t have an answer.
Many of us take for granted the sacred ritual of cracking open a picture book, and cuddling together while the words and pictures collectively take us away. You can probably recall having been read to by your parents or caregivers. You likely hold a special picture book, from your childhood, close to your heart. And, until now, you’ve probably not given much thought to how profound that experience can be.
Imagine, never having that.
When I look back on my early childhood memories, I recall a lot-good and bad. But, there is not a single memory of anyone reading to or with me. I cannot name a favorite picture book from my childhood; I don’t have one. Picture books were not a top priority for my teenaged parents. Later, picture books were not on my single-mom’s priority list either.
I guess that’s why picture books hold such a special place in my heart now. Perhaps that’s why, like a starved hyena, I gobble them up. Maybe it’s why I chose to write my own. I know it is why I jump up on my soapbox, touting the power of picture books.
It’s Picture Book Month, people! So, crack open a picture book. Cuddle with your child or loved one. Take a whiff, and enjoy.
I started a new literacy initiative called Picture Book Pass it On #PBPiO, giving free books to kids in need. Learn how you can help kids in your area https://michelleeastmanbooks.wordpress.com/about/picture-book-pass-it-on-pbpio/