Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Printers Row Book Fair and My Top Five Read Aloud Memories

For several years I  received excited phone calls from the girls, before and after Printers Row Book Fair. For several years, I longed to join the girls for this amazing Chicago tradition for book lovers like us. This weekend is the Printers Row Book Fair and you guessed it, I live in Chicago now. YIPPEE.

This fair covers five city blocks downtown, once the cities book making hub. Just typing that makes me kinda sad ~ will there ever be a city with a bookmaking hub again? I am sure you will not be able to spot us . . . but we will be somewhere in that crowd . . . with big smiles on our faces and more than likely, arms full of books.

My anticipation of this event has my mind wandering off to all sorts of bookish memories. So here we go ...


1. One of my earliest bookish memories is of my mom (Hallie) reading to us at night. I am sure we read lots of children's books, but the first ones I actually remember were Little Women, Little Men and Jo's Boys. (Louisa M Alcott)

2. Following fourth (or maybe fifth) grade, our family spent part of a summer at the University of Washington, while my parents studied linguistics, in preparation for our move to Viet Nam. We lived in the dorm and ate in the cafeteria right there on campus. 

While our parents were is class, there were different activities for the kids. My favorite was a young gal that came every afternoon and read aloud to us . . . The Wizard of Oz. (Frank L Baum)

3. Someday I should write a post about my strong opinions on boarding schools, as I am not a big fan. But I do have many good memories and one was our evening bed time stories.

There was usually one book being read to the "little kids" and a different book being read to the "big kids." I remember night after night being enthralled by the story of Eleanor in Not My Will. (Francena H Arnold) 

4. While studying elementary education at Biola University, I took a class from the head of the department, an older very classy woman. One afternoon, as an illustration of her point, she read aloud to us a chapter of Uncle Tom's Cabin. (Harriet Beacher Stowe)

We sat mesmerized, both by the shock of the story, but even more by the sweetness of how it effected our professor. She cried sweetly during the entire reading.

5. My freshman literature teacher, also at Biola, introduced us to fantastic literature in our assigned reading. But what I remember the most is each Friday afternoon, she read aloud to us one chapter of By Searching. (Isobel Kuhn) I remember the stresses of college life floating away, while we all sat listening to her beautiful voice reading this amazing biography.

I never did read Uncle Tom's Cabin (a little too graphic for me.) But the other books I have read over and over again and introduced my daughters to them, as well.

Do you have a favorite read aloud memory?

ps. Do not even get me started on the memories I have of reading aloud to our daughters.

pss. Check out this great post on books by my friend, Pamela.

6/13 - Enjoy our daughter Jenny's post about the fair ~


  1. Little Women is one of my favorite books from childhood. I remember reading the Little House books over and over when I was in elementary school.
    Hop on over to my blog and check out my post on picture books to read aloud.

  2. The Narnia Books, the Hobbit, the Secret Garden, Mr. Popper's Penguins, the Caddie Woodlawn books, and all the wonderful Arnold Lobel books when the kids were little...

  3. Top 5 Read Aloud Memories --- I love that! I may have to pick up on it and give you some credit.

    You went to Biola? One of my sons graduated from Biola!

  4. Must say my favorite reading memory is from childhood - anything Dr. Seuss! Yes, that's right! All things goofy and zaney were my favorites. Recently had the opportunity to go to Universal Studios Islands of Adventure. Guess what my favorite part was? You guessed it - Seussland!!

  5. To be honest, I don't remember my mom reading aloud to us very often, but my grandmother did. She had those old Reader's Digest books that she'd read from and also a multi-volume set of old children's literature. I loved those books and now cherish having them on my own book shelves.

  6. My favorite read aloud memory is 7th grade English. For some reason, I had this particular teacher for 3 periods in a row. Perhaps it was Grammar, Language Arts, and Literature all in a row? I don't know. But this teacher was a huge Tolkien fan. She read to us...are you ready? The ENTIRE Lord of the Rings Trilogy, AND "The Hobbit", throughout the course of the school year. She read a little bit every single day. We had tests on it, and it was part of our final exam. She made the voices for every character, and always stopped at the good parts to keep us wanting more! Sometimes she would take one of those class periods and just read. She would end a book just in time for a big break. It was really neat. What's even neater still is that she got all the voices right! When I saw the movies, I was amazed at how close they were to her! Especially Sam Gamgee, she really got him down pat!

    Can you tell that I really enjoyed her class? LOl! I don't remember much else...although we must have done some geography because I did reports on Liberia and North Korea for the same teacher...hmmm. Maybe she taught history? I don't know!

    Thanks for helping to jog such a great memory! :)

  7. Hi, Glenda! I have soooo many memories including books. I remember Mom reading the Bobbsey Twins. We also had an Uncle Arthur book set (I think that's what it was called). We had a few stories that were favorites. I loved reading to my kids too. And I loved reading to the residents at the Nursing Home. We had an activity about once a month where the group chose what they wanted to hear. Sometimes it was stories from the Chicken Soup books. I would wipe tears as I read and the residents wiped theirs. I love to read aloud....they seemed to enjoy it too.

    OK, now I need to quit....I could go on and on! (You may wish you hadn't asked!!)

  8. I so honored that you linked my post to yours. I so want to be in Chicago with you! I hope you get a beautiful breeze off the lake.

    I loved Little Women. I always thought of myself as Amy. And Francena Arnold's Not My Will is one I read many times. Have you read The Light in the Window and Then Am I Strong? My favorite was A Brother Beloved. I read that book until the last cover was gone and I'd have to wait until I was at my grandmother's to finish it.

    Loved reading your memories. Today I'll be reading "The Energy of Encouragement."

  9. my daughter loves little women...and you may remember the wizard of oz scares me;) i've always disliked being read to, so aside from when they were really little i don't read out loud to my girls. it's funny though my oldest only reads outloud. every night when she goes to bed i can hear her reading her stories loud and clear. kind of a good thing. i always know what she's reading:)

  10. I do indeed. It would be The Little Princess and another called Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze. Very young memories include the Pooh stories and When We Were Six. I can still recite James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree from memory. That's not bad for a memory as old as mine. Have a wonderful Day, Glenda. Blessings...Mary

  11. Oh man, I wanna go to this book fair!

    I love to read, and when I was 19 I read the book "Where The Heart is", and I knew that my 16-year-old-sister would love it, but she hated to read. So I begged her if I could read it to her, and she agreed. So I read the entire novel to her over two weeks and she loved it. To this day, it's her favorite book!

  12. Wish I had your passion for reading. I just don't. I like the visual...the pictorial route to storytelling, movies work for me.
    Actually, I DO have a love for the creation of HANDMADE BOOKS. My best friend is a book artist and her ideas of books are mind-bending...their content isn't made of type...nevertheless the pages tell a story and are filled with idea of a good read.

  13. The Little Bug & I are reading The Little House series together. Since early Spring we've almost finished 3 books. She's obsessed. Just when I think she's not paying one bit of attention she starts asking very detailed questions or telling her Dad stories from our reading in great detail.

    Even better, her Dad has started joining us each night as we read in the dark with only a booklight to illuminate the pages. I will always be glad I started this, thinking it would be beneficial but not really realizing how joyful it would be.

  14. Of course my parents and grandparents read aloud to me as a kid and I still love being read to but one of my favorite times of reading aloud was with Elise and Jenny. We took turns choosing books and reading to each other at night. One of my favorites: Clarice Bean Spells Trouble by Lauren Child.

    Thanks for this fun post, Glenda!

  15. Both my parents read to us a lot - and I loved every second of it! One of my favourite things to do now as a mother is read to my children...and seeing the cycle repeat itself is SOOOOO special to me.

    Can I borrow a cup of sugar, while I'm hear?!!!!


  16. What a fun experience for you! I would probably spend a ton of money on books!

    HOw long did you live in Nam? Wow!

    My favorite childhood books were the Beverly Cleary series about Ramona and Beezus. I read my 5-year-old grandson Where the Wild Things Are this morning. That's a terrific read aloud.

  17. Fortunate you, Glenda. I adore books. My favorite audio book is the Gurnsey Potato Peel Pie Society...although the name is totally wackered. It's read in dialect and absolutely charming; so much better than reading the printed page. Then there's the story...
    Lest We Forget.


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