Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

Family Reading Time

It was in May, 1918, that a new friend and companion came into my life: a character, a personality, and a ring-tailed wonder.

So begins one of my favorite books, Rascal by Sterling North. When you start your own family, you have the wonderful thrill of introducing your own traditions, while incorporating your favorite childhood memories. Four years ago, my family began what is for me a personal favorite that I thought I would share.

Each year, on Thanksgiving night, we begin reading a book together as a family. We pace ourselves as we read to finish the book on Christmas Eve. We've found that this is an incredibly special time during the holidays for each us. Reading together each night is the one thing that forces us to sit down, relax, and spend a few minutes together as a family during such a busy season. When we first started, Lori and I took turns reading, but now that Ben is old enough, he gets to be part of it as well. In fact, we combine this with our Advent chain reading each night, making this a quiet ending to our day.

Since we began this tradition, we've actually read Rascal each year. It is a wonderful story of a boy growing up in Wisconsin who takes in a raccoon as a pet. The book is humorous, tender-hearted, and adventuresome. I can't recommend it enough for those whose children are 6 or older. For a true treat, track down a copy of the perfect Jim Weis recording, which is unfortunately only available on cassette.

Find a favorite book and enjoy a family reading time during the holidays; you'll find it is one of your sweetest memories of your little ones.