While students get to enjoy special events for I Love to Read Month, some adults have great reading memories to share from their childhood. 

Mandy Buhler of Mitchell combined her love for nature with her love of reading and was often lost in a good book, up in a tree somewhere. 

“In my front yard... there are some good ones by the hospital. There's a bunch of random trees that I would climb, and I would sit and read a book up there because it just was part of that whole other world experience,” she says. “You're totally separate and alone, but immersed in whatever new world you're in.” 

The Secret Garden was one of her favourite books, written in a way that pulled her into that story, allowing her to imagine the special garden. Buhler saw the movie after reading the book and prefers the written story and how she imagined it. 

“And it still lives in my brain 30 years later,” she adds. 

Now that technology has brought books to cell phones and tablets, Buhler says it makes it easier to do a lot more reading, day or night. 

Her cell phone allows easy access to books, whenever and wherever. She might be spotted reading a couple of chapters while getting an oil change, or a few chapters in the dark before drifting off to sleep. 

Buhler says it’s great to share her love of reading with her children but adds they did not seem too interested in reading books from her childhood, like The Secret Garden. 

Former Woodlawn School student, Mayor Earl Funk, joined students a couple of times this month in celebration of I Love to Read Month. 

@steinbach_online #steinbach mayor reads the #thebookwithnopictures ♬ original sound - SteinbachOnline

He says the school feels a lot smaller than it did back in the day when he was an elementary student. 

During his visit with students, Funk told them that he had wanted to be the mayor ever since he was a kid. One student commented that it was nice how is dream came true. 

Funk says it was really nice to visit with some of the students, “a breath of fresh air.” 

Students were given bookmarks that feature pictures of the Steinbach Aquatic Centre. 

Steinbach Online also caught up with Hanover School Superintendent/CEO Shelley Amos to talk about favourite books from her school years. 

In her early teenage years, she enjoyed reading The Nancy Drew series. 

“I just loved the that she was a female that was having these adventures, that there was mystery involved in it and they were gripping for me,” Amos explains. “I would get a new one and read it front to back. Absolutely loved the, I think there were 50 or so books in that series at the time, so I kept those because it was such a strong memory for me.” 

Now as an adult, Amos says Ten Degrees of Reckoning is one of her favourites. 

“It's actually a tragic story,” she says. “But what I love about it is that it's about the true story of a family's love and the will to survive, and a tragedy that hits the family and how the mother in the family is brave and the resilience that she has to go through to deal with the tragedy for her, for her family. It's gut wrenching.” 

She says it might not be a book that most people would be quick to read but adds that it is a powerful story “about remembering people, remembering the love that families have for one another.” 

Her love of reading began at a very young age with both parents being fairly avid readers and as were her grandparents. 

“So reading was never a choice in my family. It was instilled right from young.” 

Amos says children learn a lot about reading by simply hearing their parents read out loud. 

“Even a child in a womb can actually hear the words being spoken, and that's how you really need to start to foster the love of reading.” 

Amos notes literacy is so important in everyday life and a critical part of learning. 

“For instance, I love gardening, so I have a lot of books in my home about gardening when I need to learn how to do better there. You can learn about your profession. So, I have umpteen professional books that are in my office and at home that I like to learn to better myself professionally. You can take an opportunity just to get lost in a world of fantasy or adventure or drama or romance or whatever genre you're interested in. 

“I think reading enhances cognitive ability; it sharpens the mind. When we talk about critical thinking, problem solving, concentration, reading fosters, all of those things. Reading is the gateway to knowledge, allowing people to delve into diverse subjects and learn and expand your understanding of people and the world. I think you can improve empathy and emotional intelligence by reading and exposing yourself to all kinds of perspectives.” 

Amos believes reading can serve people of all ages in various ways.  She says reading can be used as a stress relief and as a social avenue, such as connecting with fellow readers in a book club to discuss different aspects of a book. 

There is something about nature that seems to attract readers. Like Buhler and her reading books in trees, Amos says her favourite reading spot is also outdoors, on her deck in the summertime. 

“In particular in the morning when it's quiet and I can hear the birds chirping, I can have a cup of coffee and sit in a comfy chair and start off the day with a little bit of time. Our days are always busy. Sometimes you have to schedule in a little bit of reading time, or the day goes by really quick and you haven't had a chance to read. I think being outside in nature and reading go hand in hand for me.” 

- With files from Carly Koop, Michelle Sawatzky