Tell a Story and Win One

51Kh+3rEqfL._SL500_AA300_PIaudible,BottomRight,13,73_AA300_I hated to do it, but the old, black recliner was falling apart. Not that comfy, a few-rips-and-tears-but-I’m-still-keeping-it-so-get-your-hands-off kind of falling apart. No. The years, along with abuse and the ravages of being the winter headquarters for a colony of mice, had eaten away its innards. The leather had hardened in spots; the wooden handles wobbled when gripped, and I was afraid to let anyone sit in it.

Out it went, into a borrowed van and driven to the dump.

The memories, however, stayed. My father read to us in that chair, when it lived in its first home, when my brothers and I were small enough to crowd in together and listen to Make Way for Ducklings, Where the Wild Things Are, Ferdinand the Bull, or Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel.

I don’t know what it is about the human experience that makes us like hearing someone tell stories. This could have gone back to the night Og gathered the cave children around the fire and entertained them with the one about the mastodon that almost got away. The generations of kids who grew up with radio became accustomed to hearing their favorite stories, a different sort of skill than watching a movie or a TV program.

When audio books were first available on cassette tapes (remember those, kids?) I couldn’t get enough of them. Not only were they good companions on long commutes, but they helped improve my listening skills so I could give better feedback to my writing group when we read our work aloud. It was also fun hearing my favorite books acted out a bit by a talented narrator.

These are some of the reasons that I wanted to release Drawing Breath as an audio book. And now that I’m feeling a bit nostalgic for those days—and, okay, a bit guilty about tossing the chair—I’d like to give away a couple of copies from Also because voice actor Randi Larson did a fantastic job of bringing my characters to life, so I want to share her talent with everyone. [If you click on the link above, you can hear a sample of her pretty voice.]

Just post a comment below about a memory…of being read to, of reading to a child, your favorite books as a kid, your favorite audio book, when and why you listen. On Friday afternoon, I’ll choose the winners.

Thank you for reading!

6 thoughts on “Tell a Story and Win One

  1. Yvonne Hertzberger says:

    My grade seven teacher, Mr. Coulter was way ahead of his time. He would actually ‘perform’ poetry long before that became known. After lunch each day, in the two room school, he read aloud to grades 5-8 for 30 minutes from an abridged version of Les Miserables. That taught me so much about social issues, to say nothing of literature. I credit him with my love of writing, especially writing about characters in difficult social situations. I wish I could find him to thank him. I’ve tried without success.

  2. jimdev7 says:

    I don’t have any distinct memories of audio books or being read to as a child except for “The Night Before Christmas” on Christmas eve. Later in life, audiobooks were a life saver on several cross country road trips!

  3. dvberkom says:

    My mother used to read to my sister and I every night before bed. The Wind in the Willows, The Borrowers, Winnie the Pooh–all favorites. She also taught both of us to read early on. I remember her trying to corral me at the kitchen table between my bursts through the house on a gorgeous summer day, determined to introduce breathless and easily distracted me to the secret of reading. The woman knew how to entice a jet-propelled 5 year old and never, ever forced it. Pure magic!

  4. Catherine Patzner says:

    My books as a chid were one of my favorite things tied so strongly to many of my childhood memories and imagination. We always had many books growing up. One of the best memories is of my favorite teacher Miss Sheila Goldberg,at Robert E. Picken Elementary School. I had Miss Goldberg for both 4th and 5th Grades in an Inter-age Program. She always read to us in the afternoons it was wonderful. I most remember the books by E.B. White , Charlottes Web, Stuart Little, and the one that I most loved , The Trumpet of the Swan.SHe also read to us the MIracle Worker , I then became obsesed with reading any books I could find on Helen Keller. I also loved stories of History , She also read us Johnny Tremain, It and the pays we performed sparked a love of American History . I also came to love biographies. Each day these stories became real and I could see the setting and the characters clearly in my head. It was a calm and gentile ,enjoyable part of the school day , where you would get lost in the story. It was comforting, nurturing a love of books. Each Christmas she gave us all a book. I still have my Charlie Brown cookbook! It was this experience of these and many other books shared that led me to build great libraries of children’s books with my own children. Miss Goldberg also gave me a love for acting and theater, As a shy quiet kid she drew me out of my shell and made me feel important, more confident. I remember not trying out for the class play in 5th grade. She gave me a part as the I 4th wife in the KIng and I ( I still remember most of my Lines and have the script!) This made me feel so good because she had confidence in me when I did not. I always loved being read to and having the stories brought to life.
    The years passed and I had Children ( 4) of my own and one of the best times and favorite memories of being their mother was to share my love of books. From the very beginning there were books . we always read together. Bedtime was always special we always seemed to read at least three or four at bedtime! We had our favorites , I would always try to act out the parts giving different voices to the characters . Included on the favorites were Aunt Isobel Tells a Good One, Piggins ,and so many other school book fair, and library books.I was a Book fair book Junkie!
    Of course they included my E.B .White. It was so important to share them with my kids,and with that the story of how Miss Goldberg would sit and read these to our class everyday.

    A few years ago when the kids grew into young adults and we packed up the books into plastic bins for safe keeping…And so I could find my favorites if needed! One day my husband was about to pack them up and just donate them somewhere. I was luckily there to save them.”No! You can’t give away my books! Those are special! I want them to read to my grandchildren one day! What if I go back to an elementary class room? Those books will come in handy!”I am still hoping , but I have a great niece and a little second cousin. I love giving books as gifts to I recently gave a copy of Trumpet of the swan to our friends’ young daughter who was going to be living far away in China.i hope she loves having it read to her as much as i did.

    Miss Goldberg and i are still friends , I just received a letter from her the other day.When she visited us on several occasions she brought my kids books. She will always be one of the most loved and important people in my life . She gave me so much more than knowledge, and a life long love of learning, she taught me confidence ,compassion, and the value friendship.She gave me a life long love of books and even more the love of sharing those books. Not only were the stories important in themselves but they bring me back to a time in my life that was so special to me , when I felt so loved and secure. It is nice to know that each time I see a copy of Charlottes Web , Or Stuart Little, or Trumpet of the Swan, I will hear her voice and feel the love she imparted on all of her students.I will be thankful for the inspiration to share that gift with my children.

  5. acflory says:

    I love the idea of audible books but I’m too visual a person to be good at ‘listening’. Good luck to everyone who enters. I’m sure the audible book version will be just as brilliant as the written one.

  6. Beth says:

    My mother, who has a master’s degree in library science, read to us when we were children. We also got to hear Make Way for Ducklings, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Winnie the Pooh. and Ferdinand the Bull. When we were older, she sometimes read to us after dinner at the kitchen table. I remember her starting to read Wind in the Willows, but not finishing it. She told me later that she did that on purpose. She wanted to read aloud enough to get us involved in the story so that we would finish it on our own. It worked.

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