Posted weekly on Tuesdays, Reading Roots features a variety of book bloggers talking about their early reading influences and experiences, letting us catch a glimpse of the “roots” that each person has built upon in forming their identity as “a reader”.
Today, I’m interviewing Chelsea from Coffee and Cliffhangers. Let’s explore her reading roots!
What is your earliest memory involving books or reading? How were books, reading, and literacy approached in your childhood home? Were your parents or other family members “readers”?
I remember, even before I could read, carrying around a milk crate full of books. I would pull one out at a time, running my hands over the words and pictures and begging my family to read (and reread) books all the time. When I finally could read by myself, I think my parents were pretty happy. It earned them back maybe five hours each day. My family has always been encouraging of my reading. My aunt was really the only one who read as much as me, but my parents would always buy me books.
Did you enjoy language arts/English classes as a kid, or were you more of a reluctant reader? When did you first consider yourself “a reader”?
I’ve always enjoyed English classes. We’d get these huge reading packets, with stories and words and questions and definitions. They were due once a week and everyone usually groaned when we got them. But I loved them. I still remember how much fun they were, back in elementary school! I read heavily my entire life, going from murder mysteries to young adult to classics and back. Anything I could get my hands on, really.
Did you have any interesting reading habits when you were growing up? Do you still have them now?
I have to have a book everywhere I go. Even if I know I’ll have absolutely no time to read, I have to bring it with me anyway. The backseat of my car has emergency books! I don’t ever want to be anywhere without words. And when I was younger I was the same way.
Where was your favourite spot to read as a kid? Are there any books you distinctly remember from your childhood? Why?
I would read anywhere, but I really remember the book Are You My Mother? It’s about a bird who hatches while its mom is off getting food, and it goes around to every animal and object it can find trying to find its mom. I don’t know why I loved that book so much, but I can still remember the words. My dad bought it for me recently for nostalgia, and I keep it in my favorite bookshelf alongside my signed books.
How have your reading tastes developed from childhood until now? What were the phases that you went through along the way?
I kind of started reading backwards. I read adult murder mysteries when I was in middle school, but when I reached high school, I picked up Laurie Halse Anderson from the library and got heavily into Young Adult. From then, I got into fantasy (when I was strictly a contemporary reader before.) Now, I read a combination of YA, fantasy, literary fiction, classics, and memoirs. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to pick up another murder mystery, though!
Bonus Literacy Question: If you have children, how did you encourage them (or how are you encouraging them) to become readers? If you do not have children of your own, what do you think is the most important thing to focus on in order to promote reading in the coming generations?
I think it’s really important to make sure kids know that reading isn’t a chore – it’s fun. I know viewing something as assigned, as homework, kind of discourages wanting to do it. It’s important that kids find what kind of books they’re interested in and from early on, view it as something exciting to do. I know my nephews love cars, so getting books with cars in them shows that books can be fun, and hopefully that will extend into their schooling years.
I hope you enjoyed learning about Chelsea as much as I did! If you haven’t read her blog before, I suggest that you go take a look.
See you next week for a look into the “roots” of another fantastic blogger!