When remembering our childhoods, many of us are struck with warm emotions and carefree memories. Perhaps one of the items that evokes the most nostalgia is childhood books. Reading plays an important role for children and it often happens that a specific book resonates with a child. This has been particularly true for the team members of RISE, many of whom have a passion for reading.

We asked the RISE team to share some of their favorite childhood books, and we got a flood of responses. Here are the books that have a special place in our hearts:

Gilberto and the Wind

Team Member: Chris Boehm, Facilities Operations Manager

Book Summary: Gilberto realizes that the wind is a playmate. He discovers that the wind plays with balloons, umbrellas, and clothes. It also assists in flying his kite, sailing boats, carrying bubbles, and spinning pinwheels. Sometimes the wind is strong, but ultimately, it’s a kind friend.

Reasons It’s Loved: Chris loves Gilberto and the Wind because it reassured him that playing “make believe” alone was natural. The book also encouraged him to try kites and other wind-born toys. Finally, giving nature a personality helped Chris understand his own emotions. He discovered that going outside calmed him, just like it did for Gilberto in the book.

The Giving Tree

Team Member: Brittany Brooks, Lead Family Support Specialist in the Early Childhood Initiative Program

Book Summary: The Giving Tree depicts a boy’s relationship with a tree. When the boy is young, he plays with tree and falls asleep against the trunk. As the boy ages, he stops spending so much time with the tree. He visits at various stages, but no longer wants to play with the tree. Instead he wants money, a house, and a boat. Each time, the tree offers help to the boy and finds happiness in providing him with materials. Eventually, the boy (now a man), cuts the trunk of the tree to make a boat. This time, the tree is not happy. However, the boy returns and the tree is sad because she cannot provide the boy with much. Yet the boy tells her he just wants a nice, quiet place to rest. The tree can give the boy that, and she is happy.

Reason It’s Loved: Brittany’s mom read this book to her and her brother many, many times when she was younger. Brittany says she loves how the boy grows old with the tree, and how the tree continues to be there for the boy at the various stages in his life. To her, this book reflects the beauty in nature and the relationships we have in our lives. She also feels a strong personal connection to this book because it reminds her of her brother, who she lost to a car accident as a young adult. She appreciates a book’s ability to bring families together, and she looks forward to reading this book to her children when she becomes a mother.

Goodnight Moon

Team Members: Jenny Sze, Evaluation Coordinator in the Court Ordered Evaluations Program; Allison Bender, Senior Community-Based Clinician with the Therapeutic Services Team

Book Summary: Goodnight Moon is a classic bedtime story. The book describes a rabbit’s bedtime routine and follows him as he says goodnight to the items in his room.

Reason It’s Loved (Jenny): Jenny loves Goodnight Moon because of its calming nature. She says reading the book always made her feel warm and cozy. Thankfully, her daughter loves the book just as much!

Reason It’s Loved (Allison): Allison loves this book because her older sister could read it to her, and it got Allison excited to learn to read.

Go, Dogs, Go

Team Member: Patrick Wrenn, IT Coordinator

Book Summary: Go, Dogs, Go describes the interactions of a group of very energetic dogs. These dogs operate cars and other conveyances to reach their goal of a dog party.

Reason It’s Loved: Patrick cites the fun art, light-hearted storyline, and happy ending as the reasons he loves this book.

Our RISE team overwhelmed us with responses, so this blog will continue with part two! Look forward to the sequel next week!


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