As you have probably guessed by now, the CLiF staff is a small community of readers within itself. In our lives beyond children’s literature, we chat about the books we enjoy, circulate must-reads (oftentimes children’s literature), and recommend favorite titles to one another or for each other’s families. We have a vast array of interests and goings-on that keep us busy in our personal lives, but we are all readers.

As an extended part of our reading community, I’m going to let you in on some of our reading habits that keep us coming back to books and how our lives have changed because of the written word.

Growing up our executive director, Duncan, used to love adventure stories. If a tale didn’t include someone getting lost, frozen to death, cutlassed by a pirate, or eaten by a tiger, he was wholly unimpressed. Biographies and autobiographies of people he admires and who have done amazing things catch his eye these days. “Over time,” he said, “true life gradually became more amazing than fiction for me.”

Like Duncan, Matt, CLiF’s communications director, leans toward nonfiction as well. “I read magazines and the web, and listen to National Public Radio every day. Between those sources and conversations with friends, I always have a list of books I want to read.” These days you can find Matt sipping coffee and enjoying Alluring Lettuces: And Other Seductive Vegetables for Your Garden by Jack Staub.

Nonfiction once again emerges as the star role in the CLiF show, with memoirs being a favorite of office manager, Gretchen. “I love memoirs because I am invited to disappear into the lives of the characters and where they came from, so that I can travel with them through the story. I am lured into books that entertain me while also teaching me or opening my mind to new ideas and cultures.”

While memoirs are a favorite of mine these days, they weren’t always, not unless you would accept Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books as fictional memoirs detailing the life of my favorite, trouble-making child when I was eight. I clearly remember going to bed one night and finding, hidden beneath my pillow, a copy of Ramona Quimby, Age 8, put there earlier in the day by my mother. Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep that night as I stayed up and read the entire book. The joy of finding that gift beneath my pillow was unforgettable. I still relish in finding a good read to cuddle up in bed with to this day, although you won’t find me pulling all-nighters anymore no matter how good the book.

On the flip side of that my programming partner-in-crime, Julia, still loves to stay up late into the night if she is reading something really good. As a child she would read in her room by flashlight and although she is allowed to stay up as late as she wants reading these days, she still finds it challenging to put down a good book. “I read the Hunger Games trilogy last year in one weekend, barely stopping to eat!”

So, now that you know a little bit more about us, we’d love to hear about some of your reading habits. Are you an alluring lettuce person or entertained more by the lives of others? Will you stay up reading all night to finish that book or are a few pages all you can muster?

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CLiF has served over 350,000 children since 1998.

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