I have always loved books. Some of my earliest memories are reading Nancy Drew, A Little Princess, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, and every book about horses I could get my hands on. I grew up on a farm, near a little town which doubled in size when school was in session, with a wee town library. I practically lived in the school library at recess, and I swear, even though my husband will disavow it, I didn’t talk much (he’s the guy who couldn’t stop laughing . I didn’t have many friends. I had a dog, a horse, and books. Lots and lots of books. Even the title ‘Some of My Best Friends are Books‘ resonates like a tuning fork for me.
I discovered fantasy books when I came to Calgary and discovered the Calgary Public Library. Tolkien, Steven R.R. Donaldson, David and Leigh Eddings. If I liked an author, I read all their books. Series of books were even better. I got swept up in Harry Potter with everyone else, and back into the world of children’s books. Now that I’m a mom of twin boys, I get to read those books again and discover what’s been written since the seventies. In Grade 3, Calvin informed his teacher and I in no uncertain terms that reading fiction books was a complete waste of time and they were stupid. Gasp! Challenge accepted. I immediately took back up my habit of reading to them at bedtime, and I got to pick the book. You don’t like it, fine, go to sleep. The first book I read them was the Wizard of Oz. By the end of Chapter 2 Calvin couldn’t wait to find out what was next. They still play on their ipads all day long, so like any good parent, I make them read first. They don’t get to miss the joy of reading. Not on my watch. And just like some movies (the Princess Bride, the Neverending Story) you simply have to read them when you’re growing up, so they get to be part of who you are.
There are a good many books that were not published when I was little, or that just weren’t available in my town library that I’m discovering for the first time. Like a kid in a candy store.
This last year has been the leap of faith, supported by my husband Mike, that I start living my dream. I know I found my life purpose when I started spending every spare moment on vacations working on this idea bigger than me. It simply took years for me to make the leap and do something serious about it. These good friends in the book lists below have become the core idea around generating a corpus (word collection) and frequently used vocabulary and spelling lists for ESL learners, and has spilled over to my life-long passion of using technology to bring joy and ease to second language learning. You see, for the last couple decades I’ve been obsessively collecting children’s books and fairy tales in other languages too, mostly Spanish and French, but also Italian, Serbian, Gaelic and Finnish. I’ve learned a lot from my attempts to teach teachers how to use technology in their language classrooms. I’ve learned a lot from going through Spanish bilinugal school with my kids for grades 1 to 4, that there’s something I want to give you, my readers.
I’ll have you reading Harry Potter in Spanish this time, and it will be like curling up on the couch with your good friend you haven’t visited for a while and remember just why you became such good friends.
You can help this dream see the light of day for everyone by volunteering time, donating books that I’m looking for, or becoming an alpha tester of mydream2do. Soon there will be a crowdsourced project you can help fund. The logjam is only due to one person spinning many plates to keep things moving along, and to prove out some long held theories of mine. I’ve only been mysterious about the last year of my life because inventors are by necessity a paranoid lot. I look forward to sharing more soon.