Boys, I personally love books. I don’t know what it is about them, but for me they seem to bring on this homely feeling. I have memories of being around 8 years old and loving a few stories I read. I would get lost in the story and picture everything as it was happening. One particular book that has stuck in my mind, is of a girl being lost in an old library at night and she was discovering new books. See, even right now this memory brings back a magical feeling. For the life of me, I can’t remember the name of the book but if I ever saw the cover again I would recognise it. I so wish I could find this book. Maybe I will start hunting for it.
As I grew, this love of books has continued and to this day, if I start a good book, it’s hard to put it down! In saying that – I can’t remember the last time I actually read a book because, well, time is limited these days! I wish I could though and I still look at some of our books when I sit down and think, one day, I will get to you…
I don’t remember having lots of books around as a child but I do remember this set we had on values, some of which we still have now. Books can be expensive, but there’s also lots of gems we find at second hand stores. Libraries of course are an option too. When you came along Rakeiora, I wanted to make sure we started creating a good collection for you. We have lots of different types of books and quite a few Māori ones. These pukapuka (books) have been a great way to help us all learn more words, as well as the myths and legends of our people.
When you were only a few months old, we set up a box in the lounge where we put some books for you so that you could reach them on the floor. As you began to crawl, you would pull them out and look at them. I would talk to the pictures and thus your ‘love affair’ with books started too. Here you are at 6 months old with your favourite book in your first year, ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’.
We started creating boxes of books around the house, along with the bookshelf in your room. This way, there were books nearly everywhere. I believe if something is around you, you’ll be more likely to pick it up and want to engage with it.
Rakeiora you will often bring books out during the day now and every night before bed, Papa or I read a few books to you, of your choice. “Me pānui pukapuka?” Which is your way of saying, shall we read a book. I love seeing the look of excitement on your face when you have discovered a story you’re interested in. Sometimes you discover a book you haven’t read in a while or didn’t know about and again, you can see your interest peak. For some books, you know the words so well, you will correct one of us if we get it wrong!
Recently, we bought a new bookshelf and after changing our books around, you’ve had this interest in pulling out and looking through these books. A lot of these are big and the ‘Tuhoe’ book in particular, you pull out every day and flick through it, which is a massive book. You ‘read’ it to yourself often. If I put it back, I will find it back out somewhere. I love that you do this, despite having to continuously pack books away!
Haeata, you are already listening to stories at night alongside your big brother. Soon, I will set up a little book box for you too so you can start exploring.
My message boys – keep reading, keep discovering and keep enjoying books. And when I say books I mean the actual tangible books. Not the ones you read on a device. There is nothing quite like holding and looking at an actual book. Have them around you, have them around your families when you’re older. Books are like ‘imagination transporters’ So much better for the brain than lots of things around nowadays.