I recently came across a series of paintings by Jane Mount. She paints “Ideal Bookshelves,” replicating the spines of a person’s favorite books (of all time or from a particular time period) all lined up on a shelf. In our house, we have numerous bookshelves full of books – from pre-reader baby books to grad school textbooks – and I love many of them. Even though I have almost completely switched over to audio books because of my visual impairment, I still love my “real” books. Since I read about Jane’s paintings, I have been trying to put together my own “Ideal Bookshelf.” What books would I include? It is a hard decision, and I decided to start with my Ideal Bookshelf of children’s books when I saw one of Jane’s paintings of an Ideal Bookshelf of children’s books.
The Ideal Bookshelf of children’s books (above) contains many that I would choose for my own Ideal Bookshelf. Looking at this painting brings me so many happy memories of reading these books to our children. From this painting, I would have to include Winnie The Pooh, The Velveteen Rabbit, The Snowy Day, Corduroy, Goodnight Moon, Pat The Bunny, Madeline, and Frederick. I would add a Dr. Seuss book, but which one? Probably Green Eggs and Ham, since we have our very own “Sam I Am” in our family. I would also have to add Bedtime For Francis and Where The Wild Things Are, books that our children could not hear often enough, and Give Me Grace, a little prayer book that Ben read every day for years. Jamberry and Tikki Tikki Tembo and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom would have to be on my bookshelf, just because they are so much fun to read out loud. I would have to include Love You Forever and All Those Secrets Of The World, even though I can’t get through either of these without crying. One thing I love about these children’s books I’ve listed is that I can recite many of them from memory. I don’t have a sense of loss associated with children’s books, like I do with “grown up” books that I can no longer hold in my hands and read. This is still a tough task, though. Every time I think my bookshelf is complete, I think of another wonderful children’s book that I can’t leave out.
Jane says that she loves to paint these bookshelves because she loves the connection with people and their books. She feels joyful when someone asks her to include a book she, herself, loves on a bookshelf painting. She also is intrigued by the design of the book spines and likes to recreate them. (FYI – I am not being compensated in any way for mentioning Jane and her paintings.) I really love this idea of creating Ideal Bookshelves and wanted to share it. If you like the idea, please comment with some children’s books you would include on your own Ideal Bookshelf.