Everyone is grateful this week. I know I am. And for the usual suspects. My family, my friends, my health, roof over the head, shoes on the feet, and food in the belly. I am lucky. I am blessed.
But let’s move on to what I’m also grateful for. And that, my friends, are books. I’m glad people read ’em. I’m glad people write ’em. I’m glad people buy ’em. Whether online, in the store, or on the street. Seems like wherever there are people, there are books. Except where there are not. Because I know not everyone is lucky enough to have their very own books.
I couldn’t imagine a life without books. I don’t want to get all preachy or anything. You all know a place or a person in your community that needs a book, so maybe you’ll find a way to get them one this holiday season.
But I am very grateful I grew up in a house where there were a lot of books. These are some of the books I am especially grateful for:
The Night Before Christmas. This is the first book I remember owning. According to my parents, even before I could read, I read this book. Because it had been read to me so many times, I had memorized every word and the point in time that my parents would turn each page. Apparently, I plopped the book in my lap and began to ‘read’ the book in its entirety, out loud, for my Uncle Anthony. At the tender age of 3. He thought I was a prodigy.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I can remember sitting in a circle at school while my teacher read me this book. I was so excited. I don’t have a lot of vivid memories of people reading to me (even though I know they did) so I really treasure this one. The fact that this Caterpillar grew. That we got to hear the words and then the teacher would flip the book around and show us the picture practically blew my mind.
The Swiss Family Robinson. I didn’t like this book. But I was really happy to receive it. At some point in elementary school, my teacher made the announcement that she was going to give each one of us in the class our very own book to keep. This meant that it wasn’t one of the books everyone in our class had to read together and then discuss. The teacher claimed that each book was hand-picked and no two were alike. The few weeks after the announcement, there was a lot of anticipation about what books we might get. Lord knows why my teacher thought I would enjoy a story about a family of 3 boys shipwrecked on an island in the East Indies. But it was a gift for me. And despite the fact that I didn’t particularly like it or that I don’t even remember which teacher gave it to me, I think it’s amazing that, 20 years later, I remember which book I got. It meant something that a book was chosen especially for me.