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Books That Last

Books That Last Transcript

This is John Cech for Recess!, and we’re speaking today with Mrs. Delphine Jackson of Gainesville, Florida. She’s the director of the Willie Jackson Youth Foundation and a bookstore for children called The African Violet. I wonder if you could tell about some of the books that matter to you in your life and the lives of your children.

Mrs. Jackson: John, all books matter. I was introduced to books very, very young by a very, very dear friend of mine and she would read stories to us. And believe it or not, it wasn’t stories necessarily from children’s books. It was like novels and fiction, nonfiction. And so I developed a love for books, for reading, and hopefully I pass that along to my children. When they were small they were introduced to a variety of books. What comes to mind is when I was a student here at the University of Florida and I developed a love for reading Shakespeare. Used to love to read Shakespeare, a lot of Ernest Hemingway books. But in terms of my children, you know, Whistle for Willie, The Little Engine That Could, there was one called Good Morning Bear that I would read, the list goes on and on. The Dr. Seuss books.

John: When did you start reading books to your children?

Mrs. Jackson:  I always remember, when Willie was about two months old, I went to grad school, and what I would do when I was studying was I had books for him. And in between my studying I would read a story to him. So he was very, very young. And you know, they have the books for babies with the big pictures with colors and shapes, that kind of thing –

John: Oh yes, big chunky books.

Mrs. Jackson: He had those. Each one of them had those kinds of books.

John: Did he have a favorite, do you recall, that he really liked? Or later?

Mrs. Jackson: Whistle for Willie and Curious George. 

John: Did you read poetry? Was poetry something that you remembered hearing or reading as a child?

Mrs. Jackson: As a child, yes, I remember reading poetry. In high school and, you know, as a child growing up.

John: Did you have favorites?

Mrs. Jackson: I remember some of Langston Hughes’s works, yes.

John: How did these books influence you, do you think?

Mrs. Jackson: I think for me, what it did, is it made me curious. It opened up windows to parts of the world I may never visit, to things I may never experience. And I think the earlier we start reading to our kids, the better prepared they are when they go to school.

Posted in Interviews, Literature, Poetry