On Growing Up in a Bookish Family

As it says in my About Me page, I come from a family of readers.

Things like overflowing bookshelves, family excursions to the library (to pick up books and to pay the dreaded late fees) and bookstore, reading at the breakfast (and dinner) table, and staying up late to finish a good book were totally commonplace in my household. My parents bought multiple daily newspapers, subscribed to magazines, and even set up a bookshelf just for children’s books. My extended family is also full of readers. My grandpa’s library is a family legend!

There were always bedtime stories – the one I remember the best is Sandra Boynton’s The Going-to-Bed Book. Other childhood favourites include The Balloon Tree by Phoebe Gilman (she also wrote the Jillian Jiggs books!) and  Robert Munsch’s Millicent and the Wind. As I got older, I became obsessed with the Baby-Sitters Club books by Ann M. Martin.

It always startled me to go to a house that didn’t have books in sight, the way that you gradually realize as a child that not every household or family is like yours.

As an adult (not that I really feel like one most of the time!), I choose to spend time with fellow bookish people, whether online through blogging and Twitter, or in real life through meet ups and book club, which can make it somewhat of a shock when I encounter non-readers. Just like when I was a child, I am so used to being surrounded by books and living in a bookish environment that I forget or don’t always realize that not everyone grew up the way that I did or loves reading as much as I do.

I feel so very fortunate to have grown up in a family of avid readers and in a bookish environment. My love of reading is something that I feel enriches my life. I read for fun, but also to escape, to be entertained, to have my horizons broadened, to learn something new, to challenge some of my preconceived notions, and to push myself out of my comfort zone. I think reading so much and from a very young age helped me in school when it came to spelling and grammar, and it certainly enhanced my vocabulary.

I am eternally grateful to my family for impressing upon me the value of reading, and for “walking the walk”: whether it was a book, a newspaper, or a magazine, someone in my house was always reading something.

I assume that my bookworm-ness comes from being raised in a household that valued and loved reading, but what about my fellow readers and book bloggers? Was your passion for reading instilled at a young age, perhaps thanks to a family member, friend, or great teacher or librarian? Or did it develop later in life? Is there a moment in your life that you can identify as instrumental to your love of reading? I’m curious! Let me know!

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4 Responses to On Growing Up in a Bookish Family

  1. Lorie says:

    Kim! What a lovely post! I also loved “Millicent And The Wind”, but didn’t realize it was one of your favourites, too. Do you own a copy? I’d love to have one. (Hint. Hint. Christmas Is Coming!)

  2. Joanna says:

    I forgot about the balloon tree!!!

    I always loved the Jillian Jiggs books. I never got a chance to make pigs, though.

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