In honor of World Book Day, I’m sharing some of my favorite bookish memories from when I was a kid. In no particular order, here are 4 of my most treasured reading recollections.
Reading Rainbow was hosted by actor LeVar Burton, started in 1983, and to the best of my memory, aired on PBS. Each episode featured a different book, usually narrated by a celebrity. There were a few segments after this, but my favorite was the last one, called Book Reviews. This is where LeVar would utter his famous catchphrase, “But you don’t have to take my word for it,” which I would then march around the house shouting, and featured children giving short reviews of books they liked.
This show was a game changer for me. I knew I loved books by this age (I believe I started watching this around age 4), but this was my first introduction to the concept of a TBR list. I would recite the titles of the books I wanted to read to my mom, and we would find them at the library later on. I awaited each episode EXTREMELY impatiently, and created something that I dubbed “The Kindergarten Deal”. The deal was three-fold: 1. Watch Reading Rainbow and Mr. Rogers before school (I was in afternoon kindergarten); 2. Eat a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch before school (still my favorite food, tbh); 3. Wear a dress to school every day (I had figured out early on that wearing dresses got me out of gym-like activities). If all 3 of those things didn’t happen for any reason, even one that my mom had no control over (God help you if my shows didn’t air due to a PBS pledge drive), then I didn’t have to go to school that day. I wish my husband would let me make The 34-year-old Deal so I could stay home from work, but that hasn’t happened so far.
2. Book Fairs:
Who else remembers this magical week of elementary school, where your school library transformed into a book store and you could shop unhindered by your parents? As long as they gave you money before school, you could browse to your heart’s content and purchase as many books as your ten dollars would get you. Twenty if you were lucky.
3. Book It!:
Do they still do Book It! programs? It was AWESOME. You got these little gold stars for books that you read and stuck them onto this nifty pin. Once you got 5 stars, you could redeem them for a free personal pan pizza at Pizza Hut (still my favorite pizza, don’t @ me). My family didn’t go out to eat often, so this was a huge treat for me. And my parents never made me share my pizza with my grubby-handed little brother or baby sister (Hi Ellie!).
4. Book Orders:
In between Book Fairs, there were book orders. This yellow order form was so fun. I’d circle the books I wanted, Mom would fill out the form and attach the $$$, and I’d turn it in at school. A few weeks later, a cellophane-wrapped package of books would be at my desk for me to take home. If I was REALLY lucky, I got to order the monthly mail packages, an early iteration of today’s book crate subscriptions, where they would send books from a series (what’s up, Babysitter’s Club and Babysitter’s Little Sister), along with some goodies to go with them, like erasers and stickers.
What do you remember from being a kid? What fun things did I miss?