Give the Gift of Reading

Since it is December and Christmas is just around the corner, it is that time of the year when we all look for ways to give back, pay it forward, share with others, or however you want to label it—it comes down to giving stuff away. I’ve always love doing the Giving Tree/Angel Tree/whatever-it-is Tree that has the names of children who might not otherwise get a Christmas gift. I’m sure most towns have this sort of thing. You pick a name or, most often, a description of a kid, and buy a gift of some sort for them. This year I opted for the one at City Lights.
Did you know that there are kids who do not own a book? And I mean do not have one single book. And I do not mean that the do not have a book because they do not like to read but because their family cannot spare funds for books. Or perhaps the adults in the home either could not read or their family also couldn’t afford the luxury of books when they were kids.
Growing up, my home was a reading home. I cannot imagine growing up in a home without books and hopefully these will make someone’s life a little brighter.  I know kids would “rather” have toys…at least some certainly would…but I’d like to see a book on a shelf next to a toy.
Something else that is additionally sad to me about the lack of books  (and perhaps reading skills) is that it seems that the cultures or social groups that are the most likely to be book-less are often the very ones who value story and storytelling the most. How ironic.
Anyhow, here’s what I got to give:
Wow, this is one really beautiful book! The pictures look a little bit like woodcuts but the colors are brilliant. Artist is Andrea Wisnewski. Suitable for around third grade, I’d guess.
Another lovely, but totally different style of art.  This one is in both Spanish and English, so it would be useful for someone learning either language or if you had people in the house who spoke one or the other.It’s adapted and (I think) translated by Miguel Desclot and the artwork is by Ignasi Blanch and his work is edgy and almost graffiti like.
This is one of my absolute all time favorite books! Didn’t like the movie they made of it, just for the record. I got this in both the English version and the Spanish version as well. The book is awesome. Enough said!
I’ve never seen this book before. It’s all about numbers. The illustrations are fantastic–yet again in another style altogether from the rest. Author and artist is Peter Pavey and each page is chock full of stuff to look at! This is, I’d guess, about third grade again.
Awww, sweet Old Turtle. An ecology story for kids. When I was on internship at a congregation in Hickory, NC a few years ago we used this book as a sermon.  Not a children’s sermon, but a full Sunday morning congregational sermon. Again, illustrations quite different from the rest. Author is Douglas Wood, who has written quite a few other kid’s books as well.  The artist is Cheng-Khee Chee and it’s pretty amazing stuff! Additionally, part of the proceeds of the sale of this book go to environmental work.
Ok, I’ll admit I am a fan of Robin Hood.  I’ve not always wanted to admit it. But here and now I’ll confess it. Yes, I am a fan. And this is one beautiful book, too.  I was quite tempted to keep it! N.C. Wyeth is the artist for this very familiar story. His artwork is beautiful, of course.  This book is probably for just a little bit older kid–maybe sixth grade or so.
There was one more that I couldn’t find a good image or link for that was a Spanish language earliest reader kind of book. Really cute and Christmas themed.
And, Ok, I’ll confess this, too…since I”m all into confession today….I bought a book for myself as well.
Not only is this a great story which will make for good story-telling later on, it is just lovely. Written by Jeff Brumbeau.  The artist, Gail de Marken, is a quilter as well as painter. Throughout the pages there are just lovely illustrations and tiny little quilts as accents and decorations. I understand that there is a book about making quilts from the Quiltmaker kids books, so I might just have to locate that for myself as well!
So, go buy someone a book! Especially if that someone is a person who might not have any at all!
Happy Advent

One thought on “Give the Gift of Reading

  1. I can not imagine growing up in a home without books either. Sad to think of the fact that there are actually people out there who are in this situation. I didn’t have a lot of books growing up, which is why I probably go a little overboard when it comes to buying books for my kids. I have been getting into bilingual books lately, trying to expose my children to the Spanish language. Just FYI “Jazz Fly 2: The Jungle Pachanga” by Matthew Gollub is our absolute favorite book in this genre so far. Cute story with rhyming rhythm, beautiful illustrations, and the author does a great job at teaching Spanish phrases.

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