How many times have you read your favorite book?
My favorite books of childhood, like The Westing Game and The Chronicles of Narnia, I have read close to 20 times each.
Twenty times is a tremendous number, an indication both of how much more free time I had as a child and how much shorter those books are than novels for adults.
My favorite books as an adult, like Pride and Prejudice, I’ve maybe read five times.
Which is still a lot. I have many deeply loved books — like Gilead, and the Tillerman Cycle — that I have only read once or twice.
Now think about your children’s favorite books. I know there are eight-year-olds who still pull out their preschool homeschool books. These are picture books and collections of picture books. Those children — and that includes my own sons — have been enjoying the same books, year in and year out, for the last five years.
Even as they’ve gone on to other books, those early favorites remain a constant.
When my boys were little, I could easily read the same book twenty times in a month.
And it’s not a bad thing! Good picture books blend tight storytelling with marvelous illustrations, which creates a whole that’s greater than the sum of the parts. And each new read builds additional connections in a child’s brain.
I might have grown a little tired of Put Me in the Zoo, but there was a bit of a badge of honor to have read it, again. I was connecting with my sons. They’ll graduate soon enough.
So if you’re looking for an excuse to order a few more books for your young child . . . here’s your excuse. Dollar-for-dollar, it’s probably the best book money you will ever spend. The books will get more use and enjoyment, over more years, with more frequency and regularity, than any other books you’ll buy for the rest of their lives.
And since getting to 1000 hours of book time is important, you might as well do it as enjoyably as possible.