I feel at home when I walk into a library! Last summer, when I got to go on a business trip with my husband, I spent the day–the DAY! (well, much of it!) in the Boston Public Library! It is GORGEOUS! I just drank in the architecture, the murals, the engravings on the outside. I loved the exhibit on some of the first children’s books and periodicals written in the U.S., including tiny books containing the first copies of “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” (Do you know about Sarah Josepha Hale? She is the woman we can thank for our Thanksgiving holiday. You have GOT to read Thank You, Sarah to your children if you haven’t yet.) I gazed in awe at the stories told in art by an artist I love, John Singer Sargent, on the murals that cover the upper walls of an entire hall. Incredible. If you are in Boston, do go. And the café inside has delectable eats, too.
This room made me want to sit down and read. So quiet. Look at those ceilings! The lamps! The light!
John Singer Sargent paints about “The Triumph of Religion.” Incredible.
Yummy food purchased here…
And eaten here, where the accustomed birds are well-fed on crumbs.
The reading (and listening) lists are engraven on the outside of the building. Moses is the first one on the list. Wish a few more folks read (and lived) Moses’ words today!
Do you know about amazing Sarah Hale and “Mary Had a Little Lamb?”
I have the fondest memories going to the library with my mother to get stacks (around 20-30 books) of picture books for her to read to me, when I was too young to read them on my own, perhaps. Titles that I picked out again and again include Go Away, Dog and any of the Frances series.
Then I grew old enough to bike to the library by myself or with a friend or my older sister. I brought home as many as I could carry in my bike basket. Thankfully in Palo Alto, the weather is nice enough that I could basically bike there year-round. But I remember summer reading the best. Mmmm: the musty smell of the stacks, the shelf after shelf of possibilities ready to be tasted at only an arm’s reach—such sweet memories!
Yesterday was my first day back at the library this summer, and when I walked in, I felt home again! Home in the library! Cozy as a clam in what to others might be waters too chilly or salty. But not to a child whose mother included the library in her upbringing. I’m so grateful!
I read aloud to a small group of darling children and a couple of parents. Such fun! We shared an interesting smorgasboard of tastes: Tacky the Penguin, the first chapter of My Father’s Dragon and part of chapter one from Pippi Longstocking. Then we were out of time! We talked about how Tacky has such a wonderful, unique personality, and how Pippi kind of reminds us of him. We talked about how we can’t take a vacation every week in summer, but we can take an imaginary trip in a book. We talked about different methods of traveling, and that’s where flying on the backs of dragons in My Father’s Dragon comes in. I ended with an invitation to make a butterfly and write a poem or story about traveling on the back of a butterfly, then bringing that poem or story to share next week.
Is there any better gift that to share with children? I am happy as a clam doing so.
Happy Library Discovering,