Dad’s words, ‘Run your own race,’ have been a real touchstone for me. When I’m trying to figure out what to do at a crossroads, I think, ‘Is this my race I’m running, or somebody else’s?’
- Marlo Thomas
“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” –Dr. Seuss
Today has been deemed International Children’s Book Day in honor of Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday. It’s a day we celebrate children’s books and encourage others to take time out to read to the children in their world.
I am especially fond of this day because writing books for children is one of my favorite things to do. In fact, I have been blessed to write more than 40 children’s titles–many for Guideposts Books.
As a mother, I love this day because some of my most treasured moments were spent in our big, comfy chair, reading books with my girls. Abby would always choose The Rainbow Fish, while Ally usually opted for one of Shel Silverstein’s funny poetry books. When it was my turn to choose, I would reach for one of the Dr. Seuss classics. My girls were especially fond of The Cat in the Hat. I’m sure your family has its favorites, too.
Reading is such a wonderful escape, isn’t it? I remember when I was a little girl, I would curl up in my tree house and read for hours–the Hardy Boys books, the Nancy Drew Mysteries and my favorite, The Secret Garden. Page after page, I became lost in the stories, traveling to far-off places, solving difficult mysteries and tending a make-believe garden.
As an author, I am often invited to speak at schools and encourage children to dive into reading. I love that part of my job! At the end of each presentation, after I’ve talked about being a writer and read a few of my books, such as Counting Cows and What Is Easter?, I have a question-and-answer time. Last year after finishing my talk with a lively group of kindergarteners, one eager little boy shot up his hand with much excitement.
“Yes, you have a question?” I asked, sure that he would want to know more about the books I’d written or how he could someday write his own book.
“Go ahead,” I said, motioning to him.
“Is it time for lunch yet?”
It wasn’t, much to his disappointment.
I realized that morning that not every child will fall in love with reading as much as I did when I was 6, but that doesn’t mean we should stop wooing them with great literature and enthusiastic readers who bring to life the wonderful language of children’s books.
So grab your favorite child and children’s book and spend some time today escaping, imagining and enjoying those stories that make you smile. Not sure what books to read? I always suggest starting with those you loved as a child, but also mix in a few great children’s books you’ve yet to discover. (Start with Newbery and Caldecott winners.) Read Arch Books and other children’s titles such as my Sparrow’s Easter Song and Little Colt’s Palm Sunday that bring Bible stories to life for children. Read to a child today in celebration of International Children’s Book Day, but also read every other day of the year in celebration of children.
Michelle Medlock Adams is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author, with more than 60 books and 1,000 articles for newspapers and magazines to her name. She was won several SELAH Awards (best children’s book and book of the year for God Knows You in 2014 and best children’s book for My Big Book of Prayers in 2012), and her book Divine Stories of the Yahweh Sisterhood was named a Family Christian Bookstores Premiere Pick in 2006. When not working on her own assignments, Michelle ghostwrites books for celebrities and some of today’s most effective and popular ministers.
Michelle is married to her high school sweetheart, Jeff. They have two college-aged daughters, Abby and Allyson, as well as a small petting zoo. When not writing or teaching writing, Michelle enjoys cheering on the Indiana University Men’s Basketball team, the Chicago Cubbies and the LA Kings. Find out more about Michelle at her website.