Family Read-Aloud

The books that got me hooked on reading...

Little House OnThe Prairie “One of the first books that I fell in love with as a child was “Little House OnThe Prairie” by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The series of books encompass the struggles that a family face as they move further West through the United States in the mid to late 1800’s. I was struck by the main character, Laura, and her ability to remain strong during such hard times. Her family faced famine, wild animals, and snow storms. All the while, they make the most of what they have and value the family and friends they have surrounding them, even in the wild, new frontier they are living in. I would highly recommend this series of books to anyone who would be interested in learning about the history of our country through the eyes of a young girl.”

- Jeannine Roe, Olympia City Council


“HARRIET THE SPY, but of course! Despite her many problems (or maybe because of them), she was my hero: bright, independent, scrappy, and with an unquenchable thirst for information. A writer after my own heart.”

- Grier Jewell, South Sound Reading Foundation Board Member


“I can’t remember the very first book that “hooked” me because I was read to at a very, very early age, but I do remember being read to, and reading, the Unabridged Version of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, a large book filled with poems and stories about princesses. I loved the poems, but even more, I loved the stories about unique characters testing their wits against all odds. It was probably a little like why Harry Potter is read so much today. I read and reread many of those stories, and when my own children were young, I read the poems and stories to them.”

- Cynthia Pratt, Lacey City Council


“The first book I remember being completely captured by was Stalking the Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons. It was a gift to my parents that I found on a bookshelf in my brother’s bedroom in 1964. I was 9 years old. The subject of the book was profoundly reinforced by my discovery of actual wild asparagus growing in a roadside ditch near our house. I was hooked – on reading and outdoor exploration. This informative experience left me with an extraordinary respect for the natural environment and a deep appreciation for the power of the written word. Thanks Euell!”

- Stephen Buxbaum, Mayor City of Olympia


“The Cat In The Hat” “I learned the poem cover to cover. I then realized the words on the page actually meant something!”

- State Rep. Kathy Haigh, 35th District


“One of my early favorite books when I was a young boy was a book on model railroading. The book was given to me as a Christmas present by one of my aunts. I would spend hours reading about how to create a model train layout, landscaping and various structures, and then try making these things in my basement. While my modeling efforts turned out to be less than successful, in retrospect, I think this played a larger role in getting me interested in an engineering career. That book is buried in a box somewhere along with other favorite books on camping, fishing and science topics that gave me a great appreciation for the environment.”

- Mayor Pete Kmet, City of Tumwater


“As a young boy growing up in a small town that had no television or any other form of recreation I came to love the town library. Not only was it the warmest place to be on a cold winter nights it was where my friends would be. I remember when I found the book “Tarzan of the Apes” by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I took the book home and begun to read it. I literally devoured every word. I imagined myself swinging through the jungle and talking to the animals. It was our form of movies or television. We could let our imagination run wild.

“I don’t think I had a “favorite” book as a child, but I did love to read ---still do. An early book I do remember with fondness is Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. We had it at home. I remember the description of the “wild ride,” and the colorful action pictures in the book. I remember working at being able to read all the words. Those I could not read, I underlined and asked my parents about them. Finally, I could read the whole book. I don’t still have the book: it didn’t survive the many moves over the years.”

- Senator Karen Fraser, 22nd Legislative District


“My favorite book as a child was Little Toot written by Hardie Gramatky and published in 1939. It has been in print continually for 71 years and was turned into an animated movie by Walt Disney in 1948. It tells of a young tug boat, Little Toot, who preferred to cut figure eights and play in the water instead of fulfilling its role of pulling other boats. Little Toot’s fellow boats called him ‘sissy’ and picked on him for his free-spirited behavior. Toot becomes frustrated and sails off on his own—only to come upon a struggling ocean liner which he pulls to safety, becoming a heroic figure. Little Toot shows that one can step up and meet a challenge, even when everybody else doubts his/her resolve and ability.”

- Representative Sam Hunt


“Early Learning is one of the most beneficial learning tools for success in school and later in life.

My first book that I thoroughly enjoyed was “Little Toot” by Hardie Gramatky. It is the story of a little tug boat that rescued a big ship during a storm. My mother bought me a record of the story when I was four and I read along with the storyteller.

I got hooked early in my youth with the Black Stallion series. One of my favorite horse stories is “My Friend Flicka” by Mary O’Hara.

Today I listen to 3 to 4 audio book tapes a month. Most of them are fiction, but not all. I have always had a vivid imagination and books let me experience life in many different ways.”

- Representative Gary Alexander, 20th District


"The book that first got me hooked on reading was a Dr. Suess's book that I think was Hop on Pop. I was a big Dr. Suess fanso Ioften get the books confused because I've read them all. This bookwas the firstoneI ever read cover to cover by myself. What I remember is that at the end of the book there is reference to a story character that can read big words, like Constantinople and Timbuktu, and I sounded those words out and read them myself! I was very proud of myself for that accomplishment because I wasgetting ready to startKindergarten at the time. I know that this was a major factor in the development of my confidence and self-esteem in school, and made me a person who loves to learn and read."

- Jon Tunheim, Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney


“The book that got me hooked was “Little House in the Big Woods” by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I don’t remember how old I was but I remember being carried away by the stories of another little girl in a different time. I can still remember the wagon ride across the river and sod house and Jack the dog and the making of the maple candy. Some of those came in later books but certainly “Big Woods” is what got me hooked. I recently read “Hattie Big Sky” by Kirby Larson. Same kind of feeling. Different era but a wonderful heroine!”

- Courtney Schrieve, North Thurston Public Schools, Community Relations - director