Jun 162019
Thank you for reading to me, Dad!
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This is a recent pic of dad & me!

Once upon a book…

Dad & me in 1979!

My first memories of being read to, go back to when I was about 4-5 years old. I didn’t have lots of books in those days – most were from my sister’s collection. We even had some books passed on from family friends. In the next couple of years I was gifted books on Christmas and on my birthday. Gradually “my personal library” grew from a handful of books to about a dozen books :).

The art of reading aloud

Though my childhood memories are fast fading away (signs of aging!!) – I can still remember how my dad used to read to me! His diction was (still is) perfect. He would pronounce each word clearly. He would pause at the right places, use his expressions appropriately, no matter how many times we read the same book!

He has always been a patient reader and still reads a lot. In hindsight, he taught me the art of reading out loud as well as storytelling which helped me pursue elocution later on in school. I read, therefore I wrote. And made writing my profession…

There is something about book lovers

A Bargain for Frances! This book is at least 42 years old if not more. And my dad would often read this book to me. Yesterday when I asked him if he remembered my old books – ‘He’s your dog Charlie Brown’, ‘The Witch Next Door’, ‘The Tiny Little House’, ‘Clifford the Big Red Dog‘ … his face lit up and he said he remembered them quite well (he’s 80 years old, knock wood!). He was so happy to know I still have some of these books. And I am so happy that he read to me.

He looked at me and said, “You know I am so glad that both your sister and you are book lovers!”. I told him, “It runs in the family, aye?”

That’s when I thought this would make the perfect Father’s Day blog!

Meet some other dads who read/have read to their kids!

Shashi Shrivastava (Investment Banker) and Neel (7 years)

Aparajita and her family moved from Mumbai to Goa a couple of years back and what really helped the transition was the fact that Neel is a voracious and advanced reader! They just returned from a vacation in Europe where Neel ventured into many local libraries! Talk about Library Tourism! In fact, he shared his list of recommended reads with us from Netherlands!

When he was little he would insist his papa to read all of his Dr Seuss books over and over again. Toto the Auto was another book series they would read together!

When Papa read to Neel!

Abhik (entrepreneur) and Vihaan (turning 5 years in Aug)

Abhik is a hands-on daddy and does lots of fun stuff with Vihaan. They live in Gurgaon and when Roma (mom) travels for work, they are always doing something creative! They have even travelled to Assam without Mommy :). Vihaan loves & lives books and Abhik once told me that if they are in a mall – all he wants to do is visit a book store! Mind you, Vihaan likes picking out his own books.

His current favourites include Noisy Dinosaurs and Usborne Wind-Up Pirate Ship. He has a huge personal library which I am going to click next time I’m in Gurgaon!!

Ravi (entrepreneur) and Roshan (22, studying Engineering Science at National University of Singapore)

Ravi and Roshan typically bond over sports – especially football! In fact, the picture above is from the time they were watching Rugby in the Singapore National Stadium. Though they did more outdoor stuff together, they would read Tintin comics together…  “the giggles came out of full use of Onomatopoeia…. Boom, grr, plop, crasssssshh. So much fun….” recalls Ravi fondly.

When Roshan was called Roshu 🙂

Nagendranath Naidu Siddireddy (Business Analyst, HCL Bangalore) and Manjishta (5 years old)

Roopa tells me, that her husband Nagendranath likes to teach Manjishta things which are a bit more advanced for her age. He is fond of explaining scientific things like space, how things work etc , that too in Telugu so that she is proficient in their mother tongue as well. Also they like to read Jataka tales, Panchatantra, Ramayana together!

Saurabh Vyas (Banking Professional in Singapore) and Siddharth (12 years old)

Saurabh is a voracious reader, something Sid picked up from him early on. When Sid was little, he used to read him Chaucer’s Blanket the most. After that the Mahabharata. Then Sid started reading on his own and even now, whenever you see him – he has a book in his hand (same for Saurabh – check pictures!). One of the pictures shows them both at a garage sale in their Condo!

These dudes breathe books!

The family is on vacation in England right now (couldn’t watch the World Cup owning to the rain). At a restaurant after finishing his meal, Sid took out his latest acquisition – autobiography of Jimmy Anderson (English cricketer) and started reading it. Someone from the next table couldn’t believe his eyes and told Saurabh & Purvi that he was so impressed!

Vinay Arora (Advertising Consultant) and Aarini (almost 12 years old)

Apart from reading, we love travelling! This was when she was 4 years old!

I started the story with my dad and me. So thought of ending with my childoo and her dad :).

Aarini means ‘adventurous’ and true to her name, she loves adventure and mystery books! Even now, she likes to have her own backpack when we travel, because she looks at it as an adventure! [Most definitely influenced by all the books she has read!]

Vinay has been a huge part of Aarini’s reading journey – he was the one who introduced her to the children’s libraries in Goa. Being a voracious reader himself, he makes sure she always has a stock of books to read and drives her to the Pato library regularly.

He shared this picture when I asked him which books he read to her often! Mr Topsy Turvy (still her fav in the Mr Men series), Dora Climbs Star Mountain (she went through a huge Dora the Explorer phase!) and The Strange Bicycle! The Strange Bicycle is a part of Enid Blyton’s mini board book series – we had 3 sets of 6 books each and gifted many such boxes! We still have quite a few – some books are for keeps, aye?

He’s super thrilled that Aarini has started reading Agatha Christie. Here’s to more mysteries and adventures!

Bonding over Books

Unlike common perception in India, Dads too play a huge role in raising children and making them readers. Right from the beginning, I have seen inclusive parenting all around me. Unfortunately we don’t talk about it too often. We need to change that. So here’s to raising readers together: here in our kidsbookcafe.com community and at home.

Let’s celebrate the dads in our lives! Happy Father’s Day, every day!

Do share the books dad is reading to the kids at your house in the comments below :).

[Note from Team Kids Book Café: For your convenience, affiliate links (MARKED IN PINK) to some of the books have been added to enable you to buy the books from AMAZON, should you wish to! A very small amount of money comes to kidsbookcafe.com when you purchase a book via the amazon affiliate link provided (at no extra cost to you!). Do let us know if you’d like to buy some other children’s books that are not listed here yet, by writing to asha@kidsbookcafe.com.]


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