One of my favorite things about spending more time at CDP is getting to share my love of books with our girls. It’s been a passion of mine from an early age, and there’s something inspiring about watching a child figure out that the alphabet song they’ve been singing actually has meaning beyond that song. What fun it is to watch as a child grasps that letters make words and words make sentences, and then this whole other world is opened to them. Love it!

I’ve got my collection of children’s books, and I’ve been trying to add the Spanish versions of my favorites whenever possible. One of those is Tikki Tikki Tembo a story about two Chinese brothers, one with a very long name the very short. I remember my third grade teacher, Mrs. Long reading us this story, and we all loved joining in on repeating his name, Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo, and it’s amazing to me that 25 years later (!!!) a group of girls living thousands of miles away and in a completely different culture from where I grew up, can have the same reaction to the story.

Inevitably, one of the girls will ask if I’ve brought my book with me, or they’ll want to practice the name for the next time I read it. We make references to it when we’re doing other things around the house or playing outside. Even the children who have a hard time sitting still and following directions want to sit next to me and listen to the story and discuss the pictures. We’re still undecided if the female in the picture of the Chinese New Year is Tikki… and Chang’s mom or not, but we have to talk about it every time we read it, and I think it’s great that the point of the discussion isn’t to come to a definite decision, but rather just to think on something together.

Books aren’t a large part of the culture here. Many rural areas of the country still struggle with illiteracy, and extreme poverty doesn’t allow books to be high on the priority list. Over the past year or so, we’ve been very intentional about building our library at the home so that our girls would have the opportunity to enjoy reading outside of their schoolwork, and it’s been awesome to watch as some to choose to read off in a corner by themselves, or to have an older girl sit and read to a younger one. It’s such a great way to build relationship at the same time helping to expand a child’s horizons. Now if I could just get my hands on The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles in Spanish…