Page Adventures: Fostering a Love to Read | a series by Crystal Apilado
Skimming through the titles on book spines and pulling books off of the library shelf is one of my favorite childhood memories. From fantasy, horror, sci-fi, historical fiction–there was no limit to the number of book genre options available to choose from. The number of books I could check out at a time, now that was another story. As I grew older I read a little less, but I continued to add more and more books to my personal library shelf because I was going to read them–eventually.
My family had moved to Winters in 1995 from Vallejo, and then after graduation I went off on my independent journey of a college education and finding my place in the world. My husband and I decided to move back to Winters in 2011. I was walking around the park on Youth Day, pushing my 9-month-old daughter her in a stroller when I ran into Rebecca Fridae at the Winters Friends of the Library booth. We hugged and I learned about the Books for Babies program. I signed up my oldest right away, enchanted with the thought of getting her a library card before she had even turned one.
I knew that I wanted to share my love of reading, books and libraries with her. The Winters Community Library was the perfect place to start. Between toys in the Family Center and board books for toddlers to browse through, trips to the library became one of our favorite pastimes. When my two younger daughters came along, they too grew to love visiting the library. However, my time to read for fun had dwindled down to hardly ever between managing meetings, volunteering opportunities, my children’s extracurriculars, and work projects. My pile of unread books however, continued to grow.
My husband sometimes would read the girls stories from our collection of folklore and mythology anthologies. On occasion he’d read a chapter from a chapter book series that he had bought specifically to share with them. I would listen in here and there between running off for a meeting phone call or coming in the door from an evening meeting. Now and then I would take a break from an email to read a short book to them.
In March of 2020 the world seemed to stop when the coronavirus ripped through communities across the globe. Folks were asked to stay home for a few weeks, which soon turned into months.
I had worked from home for a little over a decade and was able to keep the girls entertained for the most part. Not completely easy for a spread of 9, 7 and 2-and-a-half years old. However, it seemed that we were all a bit disconnected while stuck at home together with no real plan or idea of when we might be able to venture out and connect with the community again.
About two weeks after shelter in place began I heard on the radio the First Five jingle to talk, read, and sing to your baby and I decided I was going to start reading the girls a book at bedtime. I started off with some phonic books and fantasy-themed, easy readable paperbacks.
I would read to them right after they had brushed their teeth and climbed into bed. Fun voices, tones, and inflections came back naturally. It wasn’t just listening to a story. It was creating characters to jump off the page, listening to laughter and gasps at different situations the characters experienced, and stopping mid sentence to answer a question or to listen to an observation one of them had come to.
After about two weeks of this I realized it was more than just me reading the girls a story. It was a memory in the making, and a moment in the now to connect and be present. It felt right and I didn’t want to ever go back to a time when we didn’t have it to look forward to each night.
Crystal Apilado is the Editor-in-Chief at the Winters Express and a community volunteer for many nonprofits around Winters. She has served as a past Vice President and BDOG chair for the Winters Friends of the Library.