What's your favorite book?
That's an impossible question to answer.
Do I mean your favorite book from your childhood? Your favorite book as an adult? The book that most impacted your life? The book you read last week?
It's amazing to see how our tastes change over the years. As a librarian, I can't tell you how many times I've heard: "My child loves this book. It's his favorite." Yes, it's his favorite book right now. But what about last year? What about six months from now?
Let me use my own kindergartner as an example. His first favorite book was Fuzzy Fuzzy Fuzzy! because he loved to play with it. Then he moved on to Good Night, Gorilla, Goodnight Moon, and Freight Train. Blue Hat, Green Hat enjoyed a spot on top of the charts too. As he got older, it kept changing. I Stink, Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks and Things That Go and Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel started appearing regularly on his must read pile. He thought Are You Ready to Play Outside? was the funniest book ever and we read that one over and over (and then some.) He's gone through Berenstain Bears, Dr. Seuss, Arthur and Curious George phases (some of which are still going). When we were reading Charlotte's Web, he couldn't wait for the next chapter. I asked him today, and he said his favorite books are Rhinoceros Tap, Philadelphia Chickens, Dog Train and Blue Moo... all wonderful books/albums by Sandra Boynton. They've been on the top of his charts for at least three years.
And I've changed my favorites too. In second grade, Cam Jansen was the best thing out there. When I was in fifth grade, I thought there was nothing better than the From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and I wanted to go live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I loved Marjorie Morningstar when I was an angsty teenage. At the time, it felt magical and as if Herman Wouk had written it just for me, but it doesn't resonate as much for me now. If you asked me for my favorite today, I'd say Pride and Prejudice. The interesting thing about that book is that I've understood, appreciated and loved it in different ways at different ages. But, I'd also say that my favorite book today is The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. And as of three months ago, I'd add Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. There's no such thing as one favorite, at least, not for me.
I wrote last week about keeping a book journal and got many wonderful responses. A few people commented that the idea of recording books every single day seemed overwhelming. If that's too much for you, try keeping a favorites journal. Wouldn't it be great to have a record of that?
What phases have you and your children gone through? What worked before that doesn't work anymore? What works now?
And most important, what's your favorite book today?