My Favorite Read Aloud Memory: Lindsey Manwell

Our excitment for World Read Aloud Day here in the LitWorld office grows each day. One thing that informs this excitment, and passion for reading aloud, is our personal histories and read aloud memories. We decided to share these memories with each other, and with our community. This first story comes from Lindsey Manwell, LitWorld's Illuminator. She is the artist behind our magical WRAD logo, and creates all of LitWorld's beautiful original artwork.

I was a good listener. I was acutely aware of my age and wanted to grow up as fast as possible which meant listening to everything I could, as hard as I could. Especially books. I learned early on that that's where I could find all the life morals I needed to know. So when I was read aloud to, the first thing I did was try to figure out the moral. Once I thought I had it, I would stop listening and daydream. I might chime back in at the end to confirm my awesomeness in suspecting the correct moral.

Sadly I was often right- books for children can be predictable. So naturally my first memory of being stunned and moved by a book was one where fun reigned, and the moral wasn't the center of the story. The teacher turned down the lights one afternoon like usual and we all drew in around the carpet while she sat up on a stool. I was daydreaming (obviously) until the story caught my attention. A Centipede was singing a song in complete rhymes, and he was in the middle of a giant peach with a boy and some other insects. They were literally inside a peach - eating it - and this centipede would not stop his rhyming. With each rhyme, I marveled. Everything in that moment was heightened. It was a hot LA day and I can still smell the carpet in the room and remember where I was sitting. I will never forget James and Giant Peach.