My Mama’s Goodnight

On more than one occasion, I have been asked for children’s book recommendations. Now, let me get a few things straight. If you look up “Literature Geek” in the dictionary, there’s a photo of me – looking rather svelte and fetching, I might add.  I was an English major at Stanford and then apparently couldn’t get enough, so I stayed on for graduate school for a Masters in English too. I love books. I have always wanted to be a writer yet, save for the occasional published short story or, wait for it, my entry into “Chicken Soup for the Single Soul”,  I’m more inclined these days to suggest really amazing children’s books to others. And, yes, I’m that annoying mother who consistently gives books as presents to kids for their birthdays…which probably rates me along with argyle socks on the children’s’ wish lists…But, I love them and I love it when a book makes me and my children smile.

I am lucky enough to have two sons who adore books – and, fortunately, have inherited my quirky sense of humor when it comes to literature. Example? All books sound better when read out loud with a British accent. It’s the truth. Try it. Even my sons do it now and it warms my heart like nothing else to overhear my older song reading Captain Underpants like Mick Jagger.

Now, this blog is not like a book club. I loathe book clubs. I think perhaps it has to do with the fact that I spent a great part of my education sitting in small rooms with other literary people talking incessantly about every minute detail of every great work of literature since the dawn of man. And I’m done. I have no interest in sitting together with a bunch of people talking about Oprah’s latest book pick. Even the inherent cocktails aren’t enough to draw me in. And I love sitting around and I love books and I love cocktails, just not altogether in the same room. This might also be due to the fact that my taste in books is, well, not exactly mainstream. Sure, I adored Olive Kitteridge and I even read the Twilight series (and, yes, subjected myself to the teeming masses of fellow suburban moms to see the movies) but if I were to be completely honest, I’ve always been drawn to the more obscure books. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read Jane Eyre exactly 256 times and I still swoon over Rochester. And, when prompted, I can recite entire passages of The Great Gatsby, but I also adore Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America and Collins’ The Woman in White and sincerely hope you run out and buy those two immediately.

The same applies to children’s books. Again, no one loves The Giving Tree more than I…I even played the tree in my 4th grade recital..but these recommendations are meant to propel you to your local library or bookstore armed with a few tricks up your sleeve. Some books are quite famous, some are no longer in publication, but all are wonderful.

So, without further ado, let’s begin…

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the name of this blog comes from the title of a children’s book I wrote and carry around in my pocket like a talisman. Maybe someday it will make this list as well…

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