I haven’t discussed it so much on this blog because I have another one, an alter ego blog about all things family, but I am a fairly new mom. My daughter, now 8 months old, is getting to be a lot of fun.
We’ve been reading aloud to her since she was an embryo. We’ve included in the repertoire all the children’s picture books that you might expect– Runaway Bunny and Goodnight Moon. But I’m not a big believer in the educator’s notion of "age-appropriate literature." Neither is Writers in the Schools (WITS) where I work . We find that Neruda’s "Ode to my Socks" is really as "age-appropriate" as Pippi Longstocking. It all depends on the presentation.
In addition to reading books, I also recite poems that I have memorized over the years. That short list includes "Kubla Khan" and some of Blake’s songs, and sonnets by Keats and Shelley. I can manage chunks of "The Idea of Order at Key West" and some James Tate poems and a few by Elizabeth Bishop. As you can probably tell, I had to memorize some of these in grade school, but when you memorize a poem, you own it for life. [That might be a quote by Robert Pinsky, but I’m not sure.]
I would love to hear what you read and/or recite to your kids. Even if you don’t have kids, tell us what literature you think children might love to hear.