Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Several months ago I read a blog post by a mother who took her children outside one afternoon with a stack of books.  She laid a blanket down, and the children spent the afternoon reading.  She posted a picture that I can't get out of my head.  She'd taken a shot of her coffee cup, which was a beautiful teal and in it the coffee looked delicious.  The coffee had just been poured because it still had the bubbles in it, so I knew it was fresh.  Next to her coffee was something that looked like a knitting project she'd been working on.  And of course, there was a book next to that.  Lovely picture.  (I know it's a big no-no not to link back to a person's blog, but I can't remember what blog it was.  But woman with the teal coffee cup, the knitting, and the reading children: your picture was pretty cool.)

I looked at the picture and thought, "Hey!  I want to do that with my kids!"  I mean, I don't knit.  But I love coffee and I love to read.  So why not give it a try?  One afternoon after the girls woke up, I packed a little bag of books for them, and some reading for me and we headed outside.  It didn't work too well.  The girls wanted to play and I wanted to read.  They ended up running around while I read Vogue (I figured I should bring out something light since I wasn't sure how much attention I could give to my reading).

I tried again after I read a post about a "Book-nic" in Booklights.  Basically, instead of food, you put books on a blanket and read them.  The day I planned to have a "Book-nic" it was sweltering hot and I didn't want to sit outside, so I set it up inside.  This time, I took out not only reading books, but activity books I thought the girls would like to work on.  My sister-in-law, Shani, gave Hadley a book called The Scribble Book by Herve Tullet that is so much fun so I assumed it would be a hit.  And I took out a Sesame Street Sticker Book that Harper has enjoyed from time to time, too.  I figured having a variety of literature would work well.  Oh, and I made snacks.  Snacks go with everything, right?

My "Book-nic" didn't really work out so well.  Hadley kept asking to watch TV, and Harper ended up putting stickers all over her legs and arms.  Neither of them was in a reading mood, I guess.

That's Hadley underneath the blanket. 
Harper was into the Elmo's Big Lift and Look Book (another winner from Auntie Shani).
I tried, but it wasn't the warm-cup-of-coffee-peaceful-reading-afternoon I was hoping for.

However, I have noticed that the girls do choose to read during the day from time to time.  We read to them every day before bed and naptime, and I love that, but I also love that they like to pick up books and take a look at them by themselves.

Perhaps it's the modeling of reading that is important and not so much the activity.  That's fine, but I'm still dreaming of an afternoon of reading quietly with my girls and drinking a nice cup of coffee.  Maybe that'll happen when I learn how to knit.


  1. OK, I totally commented on this yesterday, and it never showed up!!!!

    What I SAID was........if you knit anything like you crochet, it could be awhile before this reading quietly/drinking coffee thing happens.

    It was funnier the first time.

  2. Lovely post! I love to read books with my kids and have done a similar activity to the book-nic myself. Yes, it involves snacks and usually I end up reading most of the books, to myself, and to them. LOL. Usually this activity also involves a BIG trip to the library where I let them pick out the books they want--no limits--and I think that helps them anticipate the fun of the activity to come. We sometimes make cinnamon buns the day before also. I think next time around we will do a PJ theme or hang some stars up on the wall in their room and we can read with flashlights. There are so many ways to do it. By the way, I found some more book titles for you about school time and Autumn. I'll post about them soon after I read them.

  3. I love the idea of a "Book-nic." It can be a challenge with such young children, but it might be fun to try one at night with flashlights in a tent or homemade fort of some sort! You could even take turns reading or just telling made-up stories.

    My children are older now, so they don't let me read to them all that often anymore. But some of the best days are when we go outside and just read (each independently) or play board games or cards. What a great way to spend a rainy day too.

    So, don't worry. The "Book-nic" idea will evolve and get easier as your children get older! In the meantime, it's great that they can keep themselves busy while you read in front of them. They may not seem to notice, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were asking you for a "Book-nic" in a couple of years.

    Reading your post brought back a lot of memories, and it put a smile on my face. Thanks!