“On the night you were born, the moon smiled with such wonder that the stars peeked in to see you and the night wind whispered, ‘Life will never be the same.’ Because there had never been anyone like you… ever in the world.”
This is how one of my new favorite children’s books begins – On the Night You Were Born, by Nancy Tillman.
I love reading to my son.
Since I loved being read to as a little girl, reading to my own children is something I have anticipated for a long time. Until becoming mommy to Levi, I didn’t think I could actually begin reading to him so early. I thought surely it would take a while for his attention span to develop enough for him to take an interest. But to my delight he has always loved story time, even from the time he was just a few weeks old.
Of course he’s too little to care about a story-line or character development, but he loves the quiet time to settle into my lap (or daddy’s), look at the pictures, and hear the sound of my voice. For now it captures him far longer than I expected it to and really helps to wind him down in our transition from play time to nap time. It’s also a lovely time for bonding and cuddles.
As time goes on, I know there will be lots of other benefits too. It will help him to develop his own creativity imagination, help him to develop in speech and language, help him to gain an interest in reading and learning for himself, and many other wonderful things that we’ll discover together along the way.
We have a variety of children’s books already, and this is one area of “stuff” that I hope to continue to acquire. I don’t think kids need an excess of toys… but books on the other hand… well I do believe in—and want—bursting bookshelves!
I love silly and creative books that play with words and concepts (like Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein!). I love books with great illustrations (like Eric Carle, Beatrix Potter, and the Charlie and Lola series!). I love books with good stories (like the Curious George series and Where the Wild Things Are!). I love books that aid in learning (like Richard Scarry’s word books!) and behavior and character development (like the Mr. Men and Little Miss series). And I love books with deep and meaningful messages and themes – like this one.
On the Night You Were Born is a fabulous book centered on the truth that each child is unique, perfectly created, and wonderfully made. As we try to parent in such a way that our little ones grow up feeling loved, valued, accepted, and significant, it’s books like this that will help reinforce our hard work as parents. Not only that, but as they grow beyond babyhood and gain more understanding in communication, these types of books will be an awesome launching pad for dialogue about just how important they really are.
“You are the one and only ever you.”
For now, our little Levi has no idea that one day he may have to struggle with his own insecurities and weaknesses and finding his place in the world. (And it hurts my mommy’s heart to even imagine that day!) But right now he is most definitely the center of his universe, and no doubt feels extravagantly loved and cared for! So I want to start while we’re ahead. I want to be imparting these values into his life before he “needs” us to.
We all want our little ones to grow up knowing how special they are. And what a great tool to help in “training them up the way they should go” than wonderful children’s books that we can enjoy together?
“For never before in story or rhyme (not even once upon a time) has the world ever known a you, my friend, and it never will, not ever again… Heaven blew every trumpet and played every horn on the wonderful, marvelous night you were born.”
[Quotes taken from On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman © 2005, Feiwel and Friends, New York.]