Little House on the PrairieFrom time to time, Bas Bleu’s editors will share with you some of the books that have had a profound impact on our lives. They won’t necessarily be grand literary classics or hard-hitting political tomes. They will be books that have stayed with us over the years and shaped who we are. If you’d like to share a significant title from your own life, feel free to do so in the comments section below.

This week, Bas Bleu’s senior buyer and reviewer AG tells us about a treasured reading experience from her childhood:

As an only child, I know how valuable books can be in providing companionship. But, when I reflect on my youth, the formative reading experience that stands out involves forging a deeper connection between me and another (real!) person.

When I was around eight years old, my mother suggested that we read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie together. Every night we’d snuggle up in my twin bed, taking turns reading aloud from the novel. It was a perfect activity for those in between years—I was a little too old to be read a bedtime story, but I still craved the comfort of the routine.

Our goal was a chapter a night, but Mom would usually give in to my plea for just one more. Soon we’d devoured the first installment of young Laura’s hardscrabble pioneering life, but neither of us was ready to leave the loving fold of the Ingalls family—or to give up our special time together. So we picked up the next book in the series, and eventually read our way through all eight Little House titles

There’s something very intimate about reading to someone else. When it was my turn to read, noticing my mother enjoying the story helped give me confidence in my own voice. When my mom read, I’d close my eyes and picture the characters in my mind, pulling the covers tighter during the severe winter scenes, tearing up at Mary’s strength during her suffering, laughing when mean Nellie Oleson got her due. Reading the books together also gave us an entry to discuss issues that went beyond the printed page: friendship, love, grieving, and sacrifice.

My daughter turns three soon, and our bedtime reading fare consists of such books as Good Night Moon, Little Golden Books, Curious George, and the like. The nightly story time is a ritual I cherish. As my baby girl seems to be growing up so quickly, it’s comforting to see my old dog-eared paperbacks of the Little House series on her bookshelf, to know that I’ll be able to extend that special time just a little bit longer.