A mother-daughter book-blogging team share a special Top 5 (x 2) List

Hi, I’m LitKid. My mom and I write a book blog together called Lost in a Book. I’m going to share my Top 5 reasons why it’s superb to have a book-lover for a mom.

  1. We can have a good pinpointed conversation. You know, at the dinner table we can talk about books, instead of just sitting there like robots, eating our dinner in silence.
  2. We can bond over books. We always love going book shopping for each other and going to author events at Quail Ridge Books (quailridgebooks.com)
  3. We each have an installed book recommender. My mom is always collecting recommendations for kids’ books to read; she’s a huge Twitter person so she knows about a lot of authors.
  4. We can meet great authors. Between Quail Ridge and the huge Twitterverse, my mom and I have met a great deal of authors.
  5. Our blog. Enough said.

And I’m “AKid@Heart,” sharing my Top 5 stupendous things about having a book-loving daughter.

1. My girl has given me the opportunity to discover a couple of decades’ worth of wonderful picture books and novels that were created after I grew up.

LitKid’s dad and I are both book-lovers, so we began reading to her right after she came home from the hospital. Among my favorite baby/toddler books: Tumble Bumble, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, the full lineup of Sandra Boynton books, Guess How Much I Love You and so many more.

When LitKid was two, we moved to North Carolina and soon discovered Quail Ridge Books. The kids’ section experts became our personal guides to the latest picture books, which are my weakness. We brought home Albert the Bear, Ish, The Dot, SkippyJon Jones, Diary of a Spider/Fly/Worm, Mrs. McNosh and the Great Big Squash and many more, including wonderful holiday picture books.

When it comes to novels, I’ve enjoyed many, but Moon Over Manifest, Walk Two Moons and The Invention of Hugo Cabret are favorites. I’ve just begun reading Wonder.

2.  I’ve been able to revisit and share with her the books I loved as a kid.

A few of the childhood picture books AKid@Heart shared with her LitKid

I still have a stack of hard-cover picture books from a mail-order book club that arrived regularly and to great excitement when I was growing up; my girl gave them new life.

Beyond picture books, so far I’ve shared many of my dog-eared favorite middle-grade books, including Look Through My Window, The Golden Name Day, Mrs. Coverlet’s Magicians, and of course, the Little House books. We’ve also dipped into the Trixie Belden books I inherited from my sister.

3. Having her in my life helped me shake off the very rigid idea I had of the sort of writer I was supposed to be — was capable of being.  I started out as a newspaper reporter and later edited very serious magazines, as well as a beautiful official glossy about the making of The Lord of the Rings movies. I never considered myself to be the kind of person who could spin a tale solely out of my imagination; I was much more comfortable applying my creativity to telling “real” stories.

When LitKid’s dad and I divorced, I found myself in need of creative distraction, and it came to me that I could write a kids’ novel to give to my girl one day. It had to be tied to magic, as that was one of my favorite sorts of books growing up. No matter how it turned out, I knew it would be special to her; as it turns out, writing that story has been an extraordinary gift to me.

4. Even beyond the sheer joy of reading, books have been lifelines and safe havens to three generations in my family — my mother, my girl and me.  On Mother’s Day, I thought for the first time in years about the image I have of my mother reading in her room at the end of every very long day. After she was widowed at 43 with four children and a mother to take care of, books were her refuge. “It was the only way I could go to sleep after your dad died,” she told me the other day. “I had to read and lose myself in the book and then I could go to sleep.” Like my mom, when my dad was suddenly gone from my life and I couldn’t do anything to bring him back, books were a powerful escape.

At rough spots for my girl, I’ve often been able to find just the perfect book to help her through; just as with my dad’s death, my girl has to struggle with the fact that she cannot magically bring her parents back together. And when she confides in me about a problem or sadness at bedtime, I often work her problem into that night’s installment of our four-years-running serialized story (‘Alexandra and Lily the Flower Fairy’).

As I wrote this post, it struck me for the first time that I have given the heroine of my novel the very problem that my girl and the girl I was at her age could relate to: being caught up in something big and scary that you have no control over.  At first, my imaginary heroine, has magical powers that come and go without warning and are rarely the same; she can only hope that things turn out okay in the end, much like those of us outside the pages of a novel have to do some days.

5. Finally, despite the fast-approaching arrival of (yikes) Adolescence/Teenager-Hood, I know there will always be one topic and one destination we’ll share equal excitement about: Well-crafted books and great bookstores. No matter how cool she gets and how uncool she’ll consider me at certain points along the way, this is one area we’ll always bond over.

AKid@Heart and her 10-year-old daughter LitKid co-write the kids’ book blog “Lost in a Book” from their book-filled 1920s house in North Carolina. They hope you’ll drop by Lost in a Book for a visit and come back often. (http://2girlslostinabook.wordpress.com)