I have a clear memory of sitting on the couch in my first house with my brother, cuddling with my mom as she read to us. She must have done this often, with lots of different books, but there is one book in particular that I remember more than all the others. Perhaps I remember it best because my mom likes to remind us about how my older sister used to listen in to these read-aloud sessions and interrupt to give corrections when my mom skipped words or rephrased sentences. Or maybe it’s because I read it so many times over the following years that I myself eventually had all the best parts memorized. That book is I Want to Go Home by Gordon Korman, everyone’s favourite Canadian children’s fiction writer.
The basic plot of I Want to Go Home is that a boy named Rudy Miller gets sent to a month-long sleepover camp, where he meets a friend named Mike Webster. They do not want to be at camp and spend the entire summer trying to escape, much to the chagrin of their bumbling camp counsellor, Chip. Also, Rudy never smiles and is always sarcastic. It’s so awesome. Actually, the truth is that I don’t know if it’s really awesome, or if I just love it because everyone in my family loves it. Sometimes that line can be hard to distinguish.
I have been reading chapter books to my children for a while now, and they love it when we can read together. However, I do not always love it. Sometimes I find books written for small children to be … boring. Like perhaps they weren’t written for adults or something. So when I suddenly realized my children were old enough to enjoy my own favourite childhood novel, I couldn’t wait to introduce them to it. And it did not disappoint. It was so fun to laugh our way through a novel together, and we sped through it because it is somehow easy to find time to read when Mommy is looking forward to reading.
This family tradition, the reading aloud of this hilarious novel — even though it’s slightly out-dated and I had a lot of jokes to explain — has given me new enthusiasm for reading out loud to my kids every night. I used to like reading time more in theory than in practice, but now I can’t wait for it. I can’t wait to read all my childhood favourites, and I hope my own children remember them for a long, long time.
For more blog posts about childhood traditions, read these post by some of my blogging friends (online friends are real friends!):