Monday, May 4th kicks off Children’s Book Week in 2015. (Yes, I know it is also Star Wars Day, but that’s not what this post is about.) I am a huge fan of Children’s Book Week. At the library where I work, we celebrate Children’s Book Week by going to the local elementary school to give away books and promote summer reading. It is the single best week of the year for me as a librarian. It is very rewarding to put books into children’s hands and to see their faces light up.
When I was a child, our school had RIF days when we were each allowed to choose a book. I would walk around the tables filled with books slowly, examining those that interested me. I was always one of the last to choose – It was a big decision! I still have my favorite of those RIF books – Shadow Castle by Marian Cockrell. I loved that book, reading it over and over again.
The year that I turned nine, my brother gave me a copy of Nancy Drew and the Spider Sapphire Mystery. It was my introduction to Nancy Drew and the world of mystery. I became a fan, collecting Nancy Drew, the Dana Girls, Kay Tracy, Trixie Beldon, Meg Duncan and more.
As I grew older, I learned to appreciate other literary genres. In middle school and high school I adored fantasy. In college I discovered romance novels and their many subgenres from Regencies to contemporary to romantic suspense. When I was a young mother I read a lot of inspirational fiction. In middle age I have come back to mysteries as my primary reading diet.
I know that not all the children I give books to will become lifelong readers. But I still believe books are a gift worth giving. And when it comes down to it, it’s not the book itself that’s important but rather the child that it’s given to. Not only are books worthwhile gifts, but a child is a worthwhile investment. I hope they will know, on some level, that I give them a book not because the book is important, but because they are.