Six celebs share their favourite children’s stories



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The experience of reading with your kids has a sweetness that is unmatched. Maybe it’s the closeness of having your child on your lap, or being tucked temporarily into bed together. Maybe it’s the rhythm of the text, like the calming repetition of Goodnight Moon, or the entertaining and zany illustrations of a talented artist like Michael Martchenko. Maybe it’s the memorable characters, like George the curious monkey or Scaredy the neurotic squirrel.

Sometimes it’s the nostalgia associated with a certain book. I love it when my son pulls out the oversized Richard Scarry storybook Busy, Busy World. Decades ago, my siblings and I spent hours studying the world map at the front and reading the internationally-themed stories about Scarry’s trademark pigs, cats and foxes. Sadly, the book was later lost in a fire and by that time was out of print. When I became a mom, my sister found it on eBay and gave it to us as a baby gift. I was so grateful for the chance to share those beloved stories with my own kids.

Most likely, reading time is special because it’s quality time. It’s about the undivided attention we give to the book – and as a result, to each other. Here, six well-known Canadian parents share some of the cherished stories they’ve shared with their children.

 

Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, August/September 2014.

JENNIFER JONES

JENNIFER IS THE SKIP OF THE CANADIAN WOMEN’S CURLING TEAM THAT WON GOLD AT THE 2014 WINTER OLYMPICS. SHE AND HER PARTNER BRENT LAING ARE THE PARENTS OF 21-MONTH-OLD ISABELLA. "I love reading with Isabella! Two of our favourite Dr. Seuss books are Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? and Oh, The Places You'll Go! These books are colourful, lyrical and have great life lessons underneath the fun. The first one teaches about compassion and gratitude, and the second is about having dreams and adventures."

PATTIE LOVETT-REID

Pattie is the Chief Financial Commentator for CTV News. She and her husband Jim Reid have four children: Carolyn, 29, Dave, 27, Jane, 25, and Kevin, 25. "We became a blended family over 20 years ago and it was important to us to integrate the family in a way that everyone felt loved and valued. A book that was frequently referenced was Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney. The book’s content translated into everyday conversations and to this day, we all say “love you” probably a hundred times a day. We personally think you can’t say it enough."

PAULETTE BOURGEOIS

PAULETTE IS THE CREATOR AND AUTHOR OF THE FRANKLIN THE TURTLE BOOKS AND A MEMBER OF THE ORDER OF CANADA. HER CHILDREN NATALIE, 30, AND GORDON, 28, ARE BOTH ENTHUSIASTIC READERS. "An old-time favourite was Robert Munsch’s Mortimer. The kids related to the humour, the lively illustrations and the story (since neither liked to go to sleep). We sang the raucous refrain together, and to this day, they still know it: “Clang, clang, rattle-bing-bang, gonna make my noise all day!” Fortunately, they always slept after the telling."

NIA VARDALOS

Nia is the Academy Award nominated writer and star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding and recently wrote the memoir Instant Mom. Nia and her husband, actor Ian Gomez, are the parents of eight-year-old Ilaria. "We adopted our daughter when she was almost three years old, so right away I read her Tell Me Again About The Night I Was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis. It was a beautiful and simple way to tell her how much we wanted her. I remember her laughing loud at this line: “Tell me again how you called Granny and Grandpa right away, but they didn’t hear the phone because they sleep like logs.” I knew at that moment that she is funny."

DAVID CHILTON

DAVID WROTE THE WEALTHY BARBER BOOKS, AND IS A DRAGON ON CBC’S DRAGON’S DEN. HE IS THE FATHER OF SCOTT, 24, AND COURTNEY, 22. "Of course, I used to read to my kids – from economics textbooks, mortgage tables, and The Wealthy Barber. Just kidding. We read classic children’s books like Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham, but I'd also go to the library to find short story anthologies. I think it was important that they saw me reading a lot, since kids tend to pick up on what their parents do, rather than what they say."

JIM CREEGGAN

Jim is the bassist for the Barenaked Ladies, whose most recent album is called Grinning Streak. Jim and his wife Anna have a nine-year-old son and a six-year-old daughter. "Oliver Jeffers is hands-down my favourite children's author. We own everything he has released, including The Way Back Home. He has made my kids and I laugh continuously. His heartfelt simplicity and sense of pure fun have us rolling off the bed." Jim had a problem picking just one book. For the rest of his faves, click here.
JENNIFER JONES
PATTIE LOVETT-REID
PAULETTE BOURGEOIS
NIA VARDALOS
DAVID CHILTON
JIM CREEGGAN

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