By Susan Spelic

We all know it’s a good idea to declutter our homes. Once it’s done, it feels good. These holidays, you plan to put aside a few days to bunker down and go through your family’s ‘stuff’ and declutter. It feels good to recycle and throw junk out. You look at the study and then your diary. The kids are staying with Gran and Pop this weekend coming. Great! Saturday afternoon is free so, you make a commitment to yourself, to follow through with your plan.  It shouldn’t take too long to declutter the garage… right?

As you trawl through the boxes from the shelves, you slide into a rhythm of throwing and keeping, but keeping only the important things. You find three boxes of old kids’ storybooks. They belong to you and your partner- reminders of both your childhoods.  You choose your box and slide your finger under the masking tape seal which has already begun to give way. You find many old favourite titles, that you’d long forgotten, among your Golden Book collection. You remember how special it was to be allowed to choose three books every birthday, and holiday season. That’s right! Sometimes, you were allowed to choose a special one at the supermarket checkout (if it was a special release)!  They were affordable but so special all the same, that most kids collected them.

You lift out the first tattered one; ‘The Poky Little Puppy’ – an oldie but a goodie. You see the others, scattered on the concrete floor, ‘Scruffy the Tugboat’, ‘The Shy Little Kitten’, ‘The Saggy Baggy Elephant’, ‘Hansel and Gretel’…. you smile and flick through them, reminiscing about a time when there was no Internet- just quiet… unless someone was watching the Rank Arena TV, listening to the AM radio or if the dial up wall-phone rang.

You notice your ABSOLUTE favourite, back when you were about 8 years old…Sesame Street- ‘The Monster at the end of this Book’. Instead of sorting through the rest of the dusty cardboard boxes, you decide to sift through each title and take a walk down memory lane. Your kids love hearing about when you were little. These books will make a fantastic artefact to show and discuss.  You decide to share these classic stories with your kids when they get back from your folks’ place.

‘What’s this?’ you wonder. You laugh as you see your own mum’s name (written in pencil) on the ‘This book belongs to’ inside cover of… yes, you guessed it… Walt Disney’s 1947 edition of ‘Dumbo’. There is also a well-used copy of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and a few dog-eared ‘Richie Rich’ and ‘Little Lota’ comics, you laugh.

Gran will enjoy reading some of her old books to your kids. You smile as you think of the myriad of questions they’ll ask her about when she was ‘in the olden days.’ Priceless. you decide not to cull the classic books- even the tattered titles. Your partner can sort through their own boxes. Time for an iced tea and to read more about …



Susan Spelic

Experienced Educator | Reading Advocate | Author | Director




This is such a great idea! Here is a perfect example of an activity that you can do with your child as a follow up to reading one of these classic books: Making an Oatmeal Canister Drum


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