It wasn’t a book that started my love of reading.  It was my mother.

Every night, back to the earliest memories I can recall, my mother Sharonwould read to me and my sisters.  Since I was the youngest of the three, I have to believe that she was reading to us from my birth.

We moved around a lot when I was a child, so I don’t have a lot of well worn memories from those early years.  But one memory is crystal clear.  My sisters and I shared a room, three small beds pushed up against their own wall.  And by the door, a big, wooden toy box, on which my mother would sit under the single wall lamp, reading to us.  The warm, soft light fell over her shoulder to illuminate the page as her soft voice took we girls, tucked into beds, into other worlds far beyond our small Iowa town.

Make Way for Ducklings, The Story of Ferdinand, The Little Engine That Could, Katy and the Big Snow, Bedtime for Frances, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Harold and the Purple Crayon, Little Bear, Harry the Dirty Dog, Curious George, Pippi Longstocking, Charlotte’s Web, Misty of Chincoteague, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Jungle Book, Treasure Island, Little Women, Swiss Family Robinson, King of the Wind, Stewart Little… these were the stories of my childhood.  Many of these stories I shared with my own children when they were small, reading to them every night.  These stories, that my mother gave me from an early age, are why I read today.

Thanks, Mom.

-Sharon Browning

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