Nino loves books. He loves flipping through them, loves having them read to him, loves to read aloud - though he can't really read, he's got pages memorised.
I started reading to Nino when he was six months old - and got tagged crazy by the in-laws. I'd read anything to him - story books mostly, then newspapers, bottle labels, anything - It was a break from coming up with conversation to have with him, and in a way all that reading aloud soothed me. Then he discovered touch and feel books - and conversation made way for questions of inquiry.
Nino usually likes to read a particular book for a long time - a month or more, everyday at bedtime, sometimes asking for that book to be read several times over. We usually comply, but sometimes when it's getting too late Nino gets down to the kind of negotiation tactics that would make his Gujarati genetic pool mighty proud.
There are no preferred subjects - though I have noticed a leaning towards a 'story' - we do books on mighty movers (he loves diggers, dumpers and their kind), colours, wildlife and even numbers and alphabets.
Story times are serious business: Nino props himself in a particular way, you have to give the book your full concentration as you read - and he expects you to pat your mouth and say sorry if you yawn. There is an undeniable twinkle in his eyes - just the kind that books are expected to bring.
Currently, we're reading Poldy flies high by Felicia Law. It's a delightful story about a scarecrow, how he's built and his winged friends who want him to fly with them so he can see the world. It draws out the distinction between the scarecrow's 'standing firm in the ground' existence versus all the 'wonderful countries far away, delicious fruits and fat, juicy insects' in the birds' lives - without making the reader feel sorry for Poldy the scarecrow.
Nino loved the book instantly, we ended up making a Poldy of our own from his old tee and shorts and he has red pipe-cleaner hair. Our Poldy now stands tall and firm planted in a pot in the garden.
I've always loved books too - and I began to read really fast quite young, because I was hungry for them, according to my mum. Sundays in winter were spent curled up on a massive carpet in the local government library, reading up dust-smothered covers. I could see green, lush, Asopalav trees from the window, and sometimes, I'd snooze off, right there, dreaming of the worlds I'd just read about. Libraries eventually became a sort of home to me, and I'd be lying if I dint admit now that eventually I really hope Nino discovers their magic as well.
Some pictures from book time at bed time a couple of nights back:
Yipee! Book time!