As the season of giving is in full swing, we are all rushing around trying to find gifts for our family and friends that will bring them happiness. If they are far, we want to give something that will bridge the physical distance—something that will always remind them of us, something special. That goes for our loved ones who are near us as well, we want to bring them closer to our hearts through the gifts they are given.
I remember once there was an art contest in our elementary school library during the holidays; I had to draw a picture and turn it in. When we got called in for prizes, each of us got to choose a book to take home—a book for keeps. I had a few books at home, but not many and relied on trips to the library to stock up on good reading for several weeks at a time. Even though I was a fifth grader then, I got excited when our district’s Book Basket Lady came around to read for different classes. She read picture books and shared some of her favorites for different age groups. I remember her expression-filled round face narrating stories through the different voices of the characters. Her blonde-white hair cropped short and swept to one side turned to the book and to us children as she read. She was beautiful in her long floral dresses; almost like an unconventional fairy godmother who excited us and then left us with our imaginations running wildly. In the library I chose a picture book, The Lion King because all of the other books were taken. But the joy of holding a book close to my heart as I walked back to the classroom made me feel like I would burst with joy.
With the new electronics and toys, it seems that such simple pleasures just may not be enough for children. I assure you though; a book can provide magical adventure just like a video game, movie, or even iPhone can. It’s an old fashioned gift, but it’s something a child can turn to for comfort, a gift a family can share, a legacy that can be passed down from sibling to sibling, parent to child, and friend to friend.
Do you remember reading Dr. Seuss? How about the Berenstain Bears? Corduroy? Arthur? The Babysitters Club books? Goosebumps? It’s so easy to forget what gave us so much joy as kids and try to please today’s children with the gifts that are promoted by multi-billion dollar corporations. If you are giving a gift to a child this season, think about giving them a book, something that will comfort them, help their imagination grow, and build good reading habits that will help them throughout their life endeavors.
Try this: go to the bookstore and find a book you enjoyed as a child. Gift that book to a child you care about and then give that same book to a child you don’t know at all. You may just touch some very precious lives.
What were some of your favorite books growing up? Have you gifted a book this season?