Everyone, or almost everyone, has something they are passionate about in their life. Something that fills them with an enjoyment that others just can’t understand. For myself, that item would be books. To me, books are not just something to be read once and then tossed aside. No, books are something to be treasured and loved, and cared for. Books are a friend that will never let you down. They are something to be enjoyed over and over, always there for you when you need a laugh, an adventure, an escape from reality, or a pick-me-up. To say nothing of the educational benefits of them! With books, the learning never ends. And so, just like the saying, “The more the merrier!” could be said about friends, I feel the same way about books – you can never have too many.
I have been like this since I was a child. Even before I can remember, I loved books. My father has told me stories of myself as a child, five or six years old, when I was just learning to read – sitting in bed at night, getting angry when I couldn’t sound out the words without help, so proud when I could. The first book I remember owning, is Little House on the Prairie. I don’t remember when it was bought, or why. I just remember sitting in the truck when I was seven or eight years old, waiting for my father as he ran into a store, and him coming back out with it. I remember the yellow cover, and I can remember the feeling of receiving that book, the happiness. Over the next few years, between my father and step-mother, the entire series was bought for me, my love affair with the series firmly cemented, one which remains to this day.
As I’ve gotten older, and become a mother, it makes me incredibly happy to see my son following in my footsteps. At the age of six he is already an advanced reader, and the proud owner of many, many books. While I have not counted recently, I know a safe estimate would be at least 600 books – everything from board books from his toddler days that he still enjoys, to encyclopedias of nature, animals and other science topics, beautiful classic picture books, silly childhood stories, favorite characters like Franklin, Berenstain Bears and Arthur, to early readers and chapter books. My son loves books with the same passion that I do – ever since he was two years old he loved to be read to, and would sit on my lap for an hour or more, letting me read to him. Now, an independent reader, he will sit and read book after book, or just looking through the ones he can’t read well enough on his own yet.
While my daughter doesn’t have the same early passion for books that my son and I share, she is growing more fond of them. I think that living with her brother and I, the thrill of books is bound to rub off on her eventually. Despite the lack of passionate enthusiasm on her part, at age three, she herself is the owner of over 200 books.
Becoming a homeschooler has only fueled my love of books. Now, I not only buy books for entertainment purposes, but for educating purposes. Living books on a variety of science topics, encyclopedias, historical stories and more, are all joining the several bookshelves in our home, accumulated with the knowledge that they may come in handy some day, during some lesson.
And so, it was with great anticipation, and the feeling of adventure, that I headed to our local library’s book sale. The first time I went without the children, and poured through the thousands upon thousands of books for sale by donation. I came home with a full bag and box of books for everyone. That night, I went back again, this time taking the children, telling myself I was just going to let them pick out a “few” more. A few turned into two more bags full. Then today, after my daughter and I dropped my son off at gymnastics, we drove by the library yet again. I knew I should keep going – we didn’t “need” any more books. Yet, I pulled in anyways. Who was I kidding? I had brought my heavy duty shopping bag from home for crying out loud, knowing I was going to end up there. And so we left, two more bags, and a final grand total of 120+ books, later.
Later, at home, I went through the books, sorting them into piles – books for my daughter, my son, myself, and homeschool. Who can understand the pleasure I got going through those books? Only a fellow passionate book lover, I suppose. Going through those books was like opening a treasure chest filled with gold and jewels. There were scores of silly childhood favorites likes Franklin, Arthur, Berenstain Bears and princess books galore. Then, classic storybooks by authors such as Bill Peet, William Steig, Leo Lionni, C.W. Anderson and others. Then, there were my “treasures”: many antique and classic books with print dates of 50 years ago or older – books from the classic Billy & Blaze series, Arabian Nights, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Anderson’s Fairy Tales, plus two other beautiful folk and fairy tale books. There was an old Thornton Burgess storybook, a copy of the original Babar, from 1933, Rudyard Kipling’s “Just So Stories”, and John Steinbeck’s “The Red Pony”, from 1966. I didn’t even know Steinbeck had written children’s stories!
However, my top three picks were – a copy of the very same history textbook I used myself as a child in elementary school, which I snagged and now have plans on using for our grade 2 history starting in the fall. Then, came two special books. They grabbed my attention due to their titles, which were nature related – my son loves anything to do with nature. I glanced briefly inside and saw that they were written in a style similar to Thornton Burgess – fictional stories but loaded with facts about nature. Knowing how much my son enjoys Burgess books, I snatched both of them.
Later that evening as I was going through the finds, I finally came across the two books and looked through them. I was instantly pleasantly surprised to see that they had been published in our own province, less than two hours from here! The stories looked to be rich stories, full of beautiful images. Further investigation revealed that the books were written in 1966 by a woman that lived only twenty minutes from our house! I was full of an excitement that can only be compared to the feeling you have on Christmas morning, when you have been given something unexpected, and precious. Something you know that you will treasure and never let go of.
For, some books are meant to be shared over time, passed on. And some are meant to be kept forever, handed down through the generations, as family heirlooms. That is how I look at books – jewels to be enjoyed as a family, with the rare, precious ones, held close, cared for, and then lovingly passed down through the years, and all the memories that go with them. Just as my father gave me a precious memory when he handed me that book long ago, I hope to be able to pass on similar memories to my children.