Friday, May 11, 2012

Reading with our children -- guest post by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

I'd love to welcome Lynda Mullaly Hunt, to celebrate her debut novel One for the Murphys (which I adore, just loved - see review here). I asked Lynda to reflect a bit about reading with her children. She's a lovely writer - enjoy!

You Just Can’t Put a Price on it Until…
by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Well, instead of wearing my author hat, I’ve been asked to wear my mom hat and write about helping my own children develop a love of reading. What a fun job THAT was/is!

My children were introduced to the world of books the way a fish is introduced to water. As babies, they chewed and drooled all over board books and then graduated into word books, touch and feel books, pop-up books, and picture books. We would do “snuggle time” as we called it, where we would run to the couch, get under a blanket, and read whatever pile they could carry over. As he got older, my son could carry a lot! We also, of course, read before bed.

When they were toddlers, we attended three story times a week—one at the library and two at bookstores. And, let’s just say that I did my part to stimulate the publishing economy! Even though my children are teenagers now, their rooms are still overflowing with books. For holidays, they still receive books and B&N gift cards. In fact, we’re having to get creative about where to put bookshelves! Just this afternoon, my daughter bought herself a Nook. Perhaps, there will be more floor space in her room?

When my daughter was young, she liked to write her own books, so I would fold paper and staple it. I’d write the words for her and she would draw the pictures. Oh, she loved those stories of hers. She would tell stories in the car, too, and we used to laugh that her stories would last as long as the car rides; she’d just keep adding conjunctions and keep on going!

Lynda Mullaly Hunt

I still read aloud to my son. He is fourteen and I am reading The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen to him before bed. I like to read and he still likes to listen, so it works for both of us.

With my oldest preparing to leave for college in the fall, I find myself thinking back to those “snuggle time” days a lot lately. I can still feel their heads lean against me, the sound of sippy cups as I read, their chubby toddler hands resting on my arm, and I am so, so grateful that I took the time to do that when they were young. I did it for them—because as a teacher, I knew how important it was for them to grow up with books being an everyday part of life. I also knew, that when children sit on your lap to read books, they associate reading with something pleasant/positive and that feeling is something they carry in their cells right into adulthood. Besides, books are fun, aren't they?!

But, the benefits for me as their mom are not something I will find in an educational journal. I tell you though—I wouldn’t trade the memories of snuggling in, the sound of childhood giggles while we shared the antics of Curious George, Mike Mulligan, Stellaluna, Tacky the Penguin, The Paperbag Princess or the zillions of other characters we grew to love together. It’s the kind of stuff you can’t put a price on—that is, until your daughter goes to college as an English major!


Thank you, Lynda! Please see the full details of the One for the Murphys blog tour over at Lynda's blog.


  1. Geez, even I liked reading that again--reliving those memories of snuffle time days. Thanks, *so much* Mary Ann! Your enthusiasm for Murphys has been so appreciated. :-)

  2. Lynda, this is beautiful. I've always said nothing is better than two boys, a book, and a blanket.
    My boys are nine and eleven, and right now we're reading Sarvenaz Tash's THE MAPMAKER AND THE GHOST. I hope we'll continue this family tradition as long as your family has.

    We have Tacky the Penguin memories, too. :)

    1. Hey, Caroline. And aren't they loving Sarv's book!? Yes--I have no doubt that you'll keep up that tradition. They are some of my most treasured memories...