Ever since I was little, I’ve loved being read to.
If we’re lucky, we start out our parents’ laps, hearing the same stories over and over (supposedly Margaret Wise Brown was my favorite), absorbing the love passed on to us with the story.
But then we go off to elementary school, and most parents stop reading to their children. We don’t need the words said to us, right? We can read them ourselves!
As children become adults, some of us never lose that desire to be read to. You know us. We’re the ones that sit with our children at library story time and are more attentive than our children.
In graduate school, I took a Children’s Literature class. I learned a lot, etc., etc. But the one thing I remember the most is that on the last day of class, we brought our pillows and the professor read to us the whole time as we relaxed on the floor. It was heaven.
There’s something about the sound of a story. The inflections, the characterizations, the ability to make it seem different every time you read it… And the closeness. You feel like the person reading to you cares about you, because they are performing that same act that a parent does with a child, that devotion to your understanding.
Since no one really lets me sit on their lap anymore (except maybe my husband, but that’s a different thing entirely), I listen to audiobooks in the car. I don’t have a long commute, and my kids are with me in the car most of the time, so I don’t always get them finished before they’re due. But they make the ride go faster, and at least I’m not on Twitter when I drive (really!!).
Right now I’m listening to Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. S. Epatha Merkerson reads it, and I can’t help thinking that she’s telling me the story.
I’m such a narcissist.