Last night I had the pleasure of sharing a home-cooked meal with a lovely Carleton alum and her family. I met them when I was in D.C. a year and a half ago and reached out to them a few weeks after work started. It was so refreshing to eat around a table (when alone I eat in bed, when Maddie is home we eat on the couch) and especially to sit around a table with children. We shared the best parts of our days (mine was when my boxing instructor told me my punches were looking good…that tiny confidence booster made getting up at 5am worth it), I trained my ears to listen to two tiny voices telling me stories at the same time, food was spilled, there was laughter, more food was spilled, and their warm smiles and stories and questions made me feel instantly at home.
Something you should know about me (if you haven’t guessed) is that I love children’s movies. Last weekend I watched Harry Potter 1&2 (the first one was by myself on a Friday night…I had company for the second one so it wasn’t quite as pathetic for a 22 year old), the weekend before I watched Tarzan and Tangled, over the summer I fell in love with Cars and Monster’s Inc. 2, and the list goes on and on. I think they are hilarious, refreshing, heartwarming, and–quite often–breathtakingly beautiful. So whenever I babysit, I hope and I pray that the kids want to watch a movie. But last night I was introduced to a whole new world of brilliance.
Of course they were read to me as a kid, but I haven’t read a child’s book in a very long time. And am certainly not as familiar with the popular authors and titles as parents are. But after dinner, this doe-eyed beautiful blonde three year old asked if I would read her a story before she went to bed. On top of it all, she linked her arm with mine and rested her head against my shoulder as I read. Remind me again why I shouldn’t have kids now? Like, right now. Kidding. Kind of.
I read a book called ‘Dragons Love Tacos’ and just about died. As if the title alone wasn’t enough, this book was hysterical. And very well written. It had such a dry sense of humor and the dialogue was clever (not corny) and the story line was so creative and colorful.
When I told them how much I loved it, they shared some of their other favorites with me, including…
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
and the one that had me in tears I was laughing so hard…
What Will Fat Cat Sit On?
When I was little I was an avid reader (you know, staying up past my bedtime or skipping recess to finish a story) and one of my favorite books was called Wayside School is Falling Down, about a school that is 30 stories high with one classroom on each level. The stories all depict the antics of the wacky classroom at the very top. I must have read that book dozens of times (as well as the other two in the series).
In terms of picture books, however, the last one I can recall reading before last night was one I actually purchased in Spain called Enamorados. It was in the bookstore of a museum (can’t recall which one right now) and I fell in love the moment I saw it. It is about a group of children discussing what they think love is based on their observations of people in love. The conclusions they draw are very earnest and thoughtful. Plus it is in spanish, which makes it all the more beautiful.
The D.C. National Book Festival is in two weeks and I actually squealed when I found out about it. Hundreds of authors will gather on the mall to talk to audiences, do book signings, and sell their most recent works. I can only imagine the hoards of other book sellers that will be there. My excitement blew through the roof when I found out Tamora Pierce will be there. If you haven’t heard of her, look her up, and read her books. They are magnificent, multi-generational tales of a faraway land. The first series I read (and my favorite of hers) is called Songs of the Lioness, about a 10 year old girl who dreams of being a knight so she disguises herself as a boy. The quartet follows her throughout knight training and the challenges she faces as a potential knight and as a woman. Witty, well-crafted, and engrossing.
Over the summer I discovered that one of my California roadtrip buddies loves this series as well and our friendship automatically jumped forward several levels. Anyways, she will be at the book fest and I just so happen to have one of her later books with me that I never got around to finishing for some reason. Khaled Hosseini will also be there, so I might have to take The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and And the Mountains Echoed with me to get signed. Needless to say I’m excited.
I’m writing this as my granola is baking (judging by the crispy smell filling my living room, I should probably take it out about now). Despite the fact that it was in the 90s today, I know colder weather is right around the corner (fingers crossed) and my thoughts have already turned to luxurious chilly Sunday mornings in bed with coffee and a bowl of something hearty. I stumbled upon this wintery granola recipe and decided to give it a shot.
Here’s to hoping in two weeks the weather will be nippy and I will have a new stack of books to dive into.