Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Book Marks the Spot

My wife had this really cool idea for our wedding. First, we scoured the city and bought 100 or so copies of our favorites books. Once we had our stash, we embossed them with the words, “Dan and Andrea’s Wedding,” then used them as centerpieces at the tables. At the end of the festivities, guests each left with a copy of one of our favorite books and hopefully something meaningful to remember the occasion by.
Well, I got thinking. Most of us love books. But do we take their presence in our households for granted? Is there a way to reinforce their enormous value to us to our children? Here are a few ideas:
  1. A Special Bookshelf. I don’t know about you, but I tend to keep my favorite books grouped together on a shelf near my bed. I find their presence near me oddly reassuring. So the other day, we did the same for our daughter, Cassie. Now the complete set of Daisy Meadow’s The Weather Fairies, The Cricket in Times Square, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and other favorites are only an arms length away. We also got her a flashlight so that on those nights when she has trouble falling asleep, she can read to herself (as best she can) and leave us to our well-earned nightly collapse.
  2. Mark Your Gift Books. I’m sure this has happened to you. You grab a book from the shelf and say to yourself or your spouse, “Who gave this to us?” The answer is most often a shrug. Well, how about writing the date you received it and the name of the purchaser on the front page of each book? It might well add to your child’s reading enjoyment to remember that a particular book was given to him or her by a particular person. Also, the dated books can serve the same function as a scrapbook, bringing back memories of special events. As in, “Check it out! Uncle Rick gave this to Jack on his third birthday,” setting off a stream of recollections about the party: who was there, what you served, which kid left a handprint in the cake.
  3. Signed Books. When possible, meet authors; buy signed books. My kids love feeling a connection, no matter how tenuous, to a real live writer. And it’s also fun to give your signed copies their own special shelf. Hey, books like to feel important, too.

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