I want congratulate YOU for getting one step closer to joining The League of Book-Only-Givers. Trust me, we’re a pretty big deal. My name is Tempest (named for the play, of course) and currently I’m an Educentser learning the ropes of the coolest resource for teachers, homeschoolers and parents ever–but that’s for another blog post. As a former daycare provider, nanny and preschool teacher, I have had the pleasure of playing with some of the coolest mini humans on the planet. As a lover of playtime, it might come as a surprise that my commitment to buying books was born from a promise to my best friend that I would never, ever, ever, buy her daughter a gift that lit up or made noise. No, I would not be responsible for driving Brittany crazy with automated repetitions of the alphabet or joyful dolls professing their love to her daughter (or worse yet, crying). So, when Raelyn’s first birthday came around I set out to buy a gift worthy of several gold stars.
With the help of Shel Selverstien and his beautiful book, Where The Sidewalk Ends, I was able to give my goddaughter the gift she wanted most: time with her mommy. After two years of special occasions and first holidays, I am proud to say that I have stuck to my word. I know, it might seem extreme (and perhaps inconvenient) to only buy books for kids in my life but the truth is, I’ve made deeper connections with children and their families since vowing to give the gift of literature. If you are not yet convinced, check out my top 5 reasons books are the ideal gift for kids.
1) Books Build Bridges (But Only With Your Help!)
Even without flashing lights a book has the power to connect people. I, perhaps like you, have fond memories of reading before bed with my mom and to this day we swap articles, books, and magazines for fun. When you give the gift of a book you give a child an opportunity to connect with people of all ages through storytelling. Whether it’s through the practice of reading with a family member or the excitement of discussing a zany story from the Ripley’s Believe it Or Not! series during lunch with friends, a good book builds bridges between people, and who wouldn’t want to be a part of that process?
2) It’s Cheaper Than A Vacation
To Ancient Egypt
As a kid I was absolutely obsessed with Ancient Egypt. I loved everything from the majestic images of African royalty to the artfully crafted headdresses and figures which adorned my favorite exhibits in the museum. If my parents could have had it their way, I’m sure they would have taken me to Egypt but I wasn’t yet familiar with the Tardis, so time travel still wasn’t an option. Instead, mom and I took trips to our local library and I would check out as many books as I could carry. Know a child who loves trains? Pick up a Chuggington book on the way to the birthday party. Books are the ultimate ticket around the world, and trust me, you won’t find a cheaper form of global travel around the the holidays.
3) If You Build it They Will Come
Kids sure do play a lot of video games today, don’t they? Well, I bet they wouldn’t play so manny if we “grownups” didn’t buy so many, right? Now, I’m not suggesting you eliminate all screen time or stop buying games entirely, but what if for every second and forth video game in a household it was a book instead? Maybe a book about engineering or how video games are made Being able to read is like knowing a special code which unlocks new achievements the better you get. How’s that for leveling up?
4) Books Give
Little People Big Ideas!
“The most important color is people color!” I will never forget the day one of my preschool students said this in class. We teachers had no choice but to run with it. But how could we support the learning? Books! The Color of Us by Karen Katz became the centerpiece of an exploration of skin color. The children were inspired by the colors in the book and began painting their own pictures using human hues. Inspire the kids in your life to think deeply. As the holidays approach books about the significance Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year may inspire your littles to create new traditions which can be repeated for years to come!
5) It’s Always Personal
Where The Sidewalk Ends was a perfect gift for sweet baby Rae. Unlike a toy, a book offered me a blank space inside to tell her in 100 words or less, just how much I loved her. My sentiments will live in that book forever. Your children will be connected to you through the words on the page of the gift you give and there’s no better gift to give than one that never stops giving.
This year I challenge you to commit to buying the kids in your life at least one book. The gift of literacy is everlasting and who knows, your gift might inspire the next great writer of our time.