When the children were little we had story time. I know that is not so popular now, but I didn't want them to just watch television, so we had several nights a week where I read a book or told a story to them or they read and told me a story. When they were very small, one of the favorite books was Spooky Old Tree, by Stan and Jan Berenstain.
While I read hundreds of stories from the time they were born, this book was the one I could tell really captured their attention. The first time I chose to read it, was on a dark, stormy night and we were without electricity. I lit a gas lamp and we sat around in a tight circle with the baby lying on my lap and I read the book to them. I made certain to use every expression, dramatic pause for effect that I could.
Our story night turned into a regular tradition at our home. Cousins and friends ended up coming over just to hear the stories and read books together. The books and adventures we shared from those early times, starting just from a child's book progressed to classics and much more complicated stories. Imagination reigned in our household on those weekly nights. The older children read to the younger ones. When we had family get-togethers with my siblings and their children, we always ended up having a story night, because they all looked forward to it so much just from hearing about it. Those nights established a deep love of reading and a bond in our family that has never been broken.
Today I look around the house and see numerous copies of the same book. As grown-ups my children read the same stories, discuss them, and share them with their teens. The teens read to the younger ones and my ten year old granddaughter reads to her two and three year old sisters-all from a tradition started by a wonderful childhood memory.
During their teen years, when the children were required to read a classic in school they didn't enjoy, we gathered together to make the book come alive for them and in doing so, we strengthened the bond of family, but brought understanding and adventure into the book if the reader stumbled.
I will never forget reading The Spooky Old Tree to my children, and I will always own several copies of so that when my grandchildren come over I can grab it along with other favorites and read to them I book I know from experience will capture their attention and imagination.
Editor's Note: Christine Feehan is the bestselling romance author of the Dark Series. Dark Slayer, the 18th book in the series, pubs September 1st. For more on the wonderful world of Romance, please visit our Heart to Heart Blog.