bazaar Kuwait is out for September, and as usual, I have an article in its pages. I say, “as usual” but in fact, there is a little thrill of excitement to see something I wrote in print – real print – not just online. This month has a little extra groove going because the picture is of our three oldest Opasons. (Bill and I are “Opa and Oma” in the Dutch tradition, and Bill has christened his five grandsons “The Opasons”) We are in a hotel in Prince George BC, and I am reading Dr. Seuss to them before bed. That was our first road trip with these little boys, and it was fab.

Right now, I read to them over Facetime when we can coordinate the day/night time difference between here and the Great White Up. We’ve recently started reading “Lord Brocktree” from the Redwall Series by Brian Jacques and they are immersed in the Blue Horde and fighting hares. The last time I read to them, their mother interrupted me to show me the boys, toys in hand, fast asleep. Clearly even via the iPad I have the ability to soothe the savage breast (The Owl had been downright cranky (“But I’m NOT tired!”) about having to go to bed but had consented to listen to Oma read.) He crashed and burned about the third paragraph of Chapter Six.

My mother read to me and my siblings – a LOT. We grew up without a television (and no social media in those ancient, land-before-time days). Many evenings would find all of us, sitting/laying/lollygagging around the house, reading something. National Geographic magazine, novels, history, recipes, comics …the cereal box. (“I’ve read every book we own. There’s nothing else!” in response to my mother’s query about the unusual choice of reading material.)

We are avid readers to this day – all of us. So, thanks, Mom. Before you even knew it was the right thing to do, you made sure we were fluent readers. That also made us fluent (critical) thinkers. For me, there’s no better evening than a raucous, impassioned debate with my sister and beloved bothers, especially when served with a side of pie & ice cream. (Not that my lovely sister has ever been ‘raucous’ in her life. Nooooooo… she’s more the quietly skewering type.)

Research does show that reading to your children even 15 minutes per day, and encouraging them to read for themselves can have a huge beneficial impact on their overall fluency, thinking skills, and self-esteem.

Go on …pick a book and get reading.

More good stuff on reading here, here, and here. There’s waaaaaaaaaay more… just Google “Why read to my children?”

Fatima Sharafeddine, Arab children’s author, reading one of her books to a school class. (

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