Wednesday, July 24, 2013

On Summer Reading, and a Story of an Amazing Reading Streak

"Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory." --Dr. Seuss

Pinkalicious came to town this week and visited one of our local libraries. We joined with a gazillion other mothers, grandmothers, and kids to get a look at her. The room was packed.

Familiar with the Pinkalicious books? I'd guess most of the five-year old population knows her. She's a figment of Victoria Kann's imagination and has captivated little girls now for several years. Who can resist her? All the pink, frills, and sparkles. Not to speak of adventure. Fun books to encourage reading at an impressionable age.

Speaking of encouraging the love of reading--which we're all in the business of doing, right?--I came across an article entitled "Seven Ways to Inspire Your Kids Summer Reading," by Jim Denney. You can read the article here. Among Denney's ideas, he suggests creating a cozy reading nook for your child, starting a family book review blog, and/or encouraging your child to write (yes!) and illustrate their own book.

But the best tip came with a story that tugs at the heart. The tip? "Read with your kids." Something I think most of us loved--and love--to do. But the story that illustrates the point? See if this doesn't touch your heart, too...

Denny writes of a single father, Jim Brozina, who desired to maintain a close bond with his daughter Kristen, ten-years old at the time. So they made a pact--they would read together every night for 100 nights. They started with L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz.

Guess what? 100 nights turned into 200, then 300, then..well...all the way up until nearly nine years passed, up to and including the night Kristen moved into her college dorm. They even read on Kristen's prom night--she all decked out in gown and upswept hairdo. Can you believe it? And the book they read that last night? The Wizard of Oz--the tale that started it all (shared, it is said, as both choked up)! Their streak went for 3,218 consecutive nights.

Isn't that the sweetest story of reading to your kids you've ever heard?

Postscript...the story of Kristen and her father's reading streak has been recorded, by Kristen herself, in her book The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared. Written under the pen name Alice Ozma (taken from "Alice in Wonderland," and the "Oz" books), Kristen is now dedicated to spreading the word about reading. Her story is quite the testimony to a most important practice. I haven't yet gotten a copy of My Father and the Books We Shared, but the title is high on my list. You can check out "Alice Ozma" at her website, The Reading Promise.

Any "reading to your kids" stories you have to share? What inspirational stories have come your way recently that tugged at your heartstrings? Maybe even some special something that you do in your own family? Do you like Pinkalicious?


  1. Never heard of Pinkalicious, will have to check it out.

  2. What a sweet story about Kristen and her dad! I can't believe I didn't know about Pinkaliscious~ thank you so much for putting her on my radar! My kiddo and I read lots and lots. Our first full-length novel was Charlotte's Web (my daughter's name is Charlotte). She's always trying to worm her way into hearing an extra bedtime story :)

  3. That was such a cool story about Jim and Kristen keeping their reading date all those years! I know I got turned onto reading at an early age because my mother designated Saturday nights as "Reading Feasts" when my brother and I were small: We'd read aloud, take a break and eat something sweet like cake or even pancakes, and then come back and read some more. We did that until my brother and I hit the teens, and then the Reading Feasts faded out, but we all still read like crazy.

  4. Rachna--the books are pretty cute with quite a bit of imagination :-)

    Jess--I bet little Charlotte will like Pinkalicious--she's just the right age for the series. And Charlotte is a lovely name:-) I bet "Charlotte's Web" will remain a special story to her because of the name--and because her mom read it to her when she was little!

    Elizabeth--I thought the father/daughter story was cool, too. And I enjoyed learning about your mother's tradition of adding fun treats to eat along with reading time--that's a special twist! What neat memories you must have. Some of my favorite memories are of reading to my daughter when she was little snuggled on the floor with pillows in a quiet space of the house. Just her and me, "our" time, and Laura of the Little House books or Mary in The Secret Garden...

    Thanks to you all for stopping in. Always fun to hear from you :-)

  5. Such a neat story!

    I have a photo of my daughter-in-law with my oldest grandson. She's showing him a book and saying, "This is one of your favorites." He was only two weeks old. He's eight now, and they still read together just about every day. I love finding books for him.

    Don't know Pinkalicious, but since I have a granddaughter now, I'll have to find out about her. Thanks for sharing that!

  6. Peggy, another generation being introduced to reading, and the love of it--great story about your daughter starting out so early with your grandson. My daughter and daughter-in-law have done much the same and I love to see it unfolding. And you wait--your granddaughter will introduce you to lots of new characters as she goes! Thanks for stopping by...

  7. That is a great story about the power of reading!

    I have one of the Pinkalicious books, bought it when my niece was a few years younger. :)

  8. What a story, and a wonderful way to share reading! My kids and I did a lot of reading in the summer. One of our favorite things to do was have a readathon, with a prize for everyone at the end if we met our goal. Of course we did, and it usually meant going out and doing something special together, like playing miniature golf or getting sundaes. (Or both!)

  9. I KNEW you would work her into your blog somehow! Ugh,too bad Pinkalicious wasn't pinkafantastic that day :0 I'm actually glad that Angelica is pretty much over her pinkalicious obsession! yay! I LOVE our times reading aloud (other stories) that we can do it for 'school', love that she is so connected to all things books and reading. I owe that love to you, you passed it down to me. Reading books together in the sewing room! Thanks for getting it in my blood and now look at your precocious granddaughter....

  10. supermom, thank you for passing on the love of reading to another generation :-) Memories backwards (reading to you) and forwards (you to the little ones) are really quite special!