This past week was Canada Book Week and April 23 was Canada Book Day, in conjunction with World Book Day. Of course, we should celebrate books just as we can celebrate the joy of reading.
As most of the world is still practicing some form of self-isolation the practice of reading, apparently, has been on the upswing. Libraries are closed, as well as many bookstores, but thankfully, you can still acquire books on the internet and e-books have become emergency-books.
Canada has a high literacy rate at about 99%, so we have the ability to read, but how many
people read for enjoyment: pre-COVID-19 and now during COVID-19? And what will happen
post-Covid-19? How will reading rank on the list of joys? Maybe, it will depend on when your joy
of reading started.
Glenda and I have been voracious readers forever. One of my earliest memories is being in the
Sydney Public Library sitting on the floor for Saturday morning reading sessions. But, even better, I remember sitting next to Mommy as she read me stories from Uncle Wiggily in the Country. Countless times did she read this book to me and countless times did I read it to myself later. I still have this intimate treasure. Ever since the kids were small when we went out for a drive with no destination, we said that we were going on a Wiggily!
We started to read to our kids, Adrienne and Gregory, before they were toddlers and this nightly
activity went on for years and years and years – until I started to fall asleep before they did! And we cycled through many of the books many times, especially The Poky Little Puppy and all of the “Serendipity Books”. Sometimes I would throw them a change-up and make up stuff and they would squeal “No, that’s not right, Daddy!”
Adrienne and Gregory became voracious readers just like us. As I became more of a committed
book collector, and the kids in their teens, I would go to bookshops on the weekends. I would
yell out who wants to go to a bookstore – and there would be a stampede. More than once,
friends and neighbours who observed their bookish behavior asked “How did you get your kids
to read so much. They always have books with them.” I would respond with a shrug and ”I
Just this past Christmas, Glenda and I went to Rockland, an Ottawa suburb, for Christmas, to
see our 6-week-old grandson with the big name, Wolf Walter Douglas Cutten. One day, Glenda,
Gregory and I visited several used bookstores in neighbouring Orléans. I bought several things, but as always, Gregory had a bigger pile than me. In his pile were some books from a series of German children’s books. Gregory’s wife, Maria, is from Austria and their intention is to bring
young Wolf up bilingual – French will come later, I suppose.
We talked with Gregory a few days ago and guess what? Every evening Maria sits up with Wolf and reads him a children’s story in German.
Wolf gets the well-worn and loved Uncle Wiggily book on the next visit!