“It was 'The Giving Tree,'” she recalls with a smile. “I was 3 ½, maybe 4 years old, and I made all my relatives read it to me – my mom, my grandparents, everyone. And then it was the first book I learned to read by myself. Everything I love about books today, I owe to Shel Silverstein and 'The Giving Tree.'”
Young's love for Silverstein's classic story grew into a passion for education and literacy. As an acting coach, and as a Creative Arts teacher at Monarch Academy, she has continued to pursue that passion. And now, it has inspired her newest chapter.
Since 2013, Miss Nikki, The Literature Lady has read to children at schools, churches, parties, and festivals throughout the city. With her literary lapdog, Readmore Books, and her friends the Party Time Puppets, she has shared stories, songs, dances, and adventures.
Miss Nikki and Readmore have been a hit with parents and teachers, as well as students, and Miss Nikki now reads regularly at Inflatable Wonderland, the leader in indoor bounce house entertainment. “Part of our mission at Inflatable Wonderland is to promote children's fitness,” says owner Rona Lambert, “and that includes exercising the mind as well as the body. Thanks to Miss Nikki, the children who visit us get a chance to do both, learning as they play. The kids get very excited when she visits.”
Noted blogger Tori Johnson (www.thesTORIbook.com)
Having become a fixture of Inflatable Wonderland's “Toddler Tuesdays,” Miss Nikki is inviting children of all ages to join her as she celebrates Children's Book Week (a national celebration of books for young readers) with after-school visits to the playground's two San Antonio locations:
* 5:30pm, Wednesday, May 14, at Rolling Oaks Mall (6909 N. Loop 1604 E., #2063, San Antonio, TX 78247)
* 5:30pm, Thursday, May 15, at Wonderland of the Americas (4522 Fredericksburg Road, San Antonio, TX 78201).
For Children's Book Week, Miss Nikki will read "What Does The Fox Say?" (based on Ylvis' hit single and viral video sensation). As she explains, “Viral videos and songs are all about sharing the fun of what you're watching. And so is reading. So bringing the two together – this song and this book – is a fun way to bring children into the world of reading. If they know the song, they can learn the book.”
Reflecting on Children's Book Week, Miss Nikki returns to that first book of her childhood. “The beautiful thing about reading is that like the Giving Tree, it's a gift that lasts your whole life, and you get to pass it on. Your parents and grandparents read to you, and then you get to read to your children and grandchildren. That's what makes Children's Book Week so important, and that's why I'm proud to help pay that gift forward.”
For more information on Children's Book Week, please visit bookweekonline.com.
For more information on Miss Nikki, the Literature Lady, please visit readmorebooks.info.
For more information on Inflatable Wonderland (including hours of operation), please visit inflatablewonderlandsa.com.