Have you ever gotten those emailed “getting to know you” surveys (usually from close friends or extended family) that have a long list of questions about the color socks you’re wearing right now, what you had for dinner last night, and other must-have tidbits of information to help those who already know you get “insight” into your day/life/essence of being?
One question—what locations do you drive to most often—always elicits the same response from me: the local library. Oh, sure, it might get bumped down a bit on the list depending upon the season and the sport(s) my kids are playing, God help me. But the library remains a constant. We love books, and we really love free books.
I made a trip to our library last night, to pick up a book I’d reserved for my son and to while away the time before picking up my daughter from Brownies. I wandered near the Children’s section to plop down to read. From my vantage point, I could see the picture books, the easy readers, the Children’s videos and DVDs, and the juvenile section.
Looking around, I was hit with memories of my kids’ childhood—in ages and stages—seen through the filter of the libraries we’ve frequented since their births: Picking out armfuls of picture books for my son when my daughter was a newborn. Taking my daughter to storytime while her brother was in preschool. Searching for the really easy readers. Perusing the juvenile section for a book that could engage my son with lengthy text but the prerequisite amount of “fighting, talking animals.” (Yes, he was a fan of The Warrior series.) And lately, a quest for all things Nancy Drew for my daughter.
Books hold a place of great honor in our home. We celebrate them, devour them. Neither one of my kids will go to sleep without first reading, no matter how late it is or how much I yell at them, “lights out!” When we drive anywhere—even on a 10 or 15-minute errand—they take along a book to read.
Earlier this morning I was checking out some book blogs (looking for the next great read for my son) when I stumbled upon a heart-wrenching story about a teenager’s love of a book series and his friends’ love for him. The heart-wrenching part? The teen has cancer and isn’t supposed to live past May. The final book in his favorite series—The War That Came Early by Harry Turtledove—isn’t due out till later this summer. Dealing with his imminent death, this amazingly brave teenager was upset that he’d never know how Turtledove ended things. That’s when his friends, and folks on Reddit, and the author himself stepped up to the plate.
View the video (available at the above link). You’re witnessing the incredible power of books.