Some days the sanctuary is the yoga studio, some days it’s the mountains and some days it’s a book.
I remember the bookshelves at my grandmother’s house and the golden foil on the spine of the children’s books on the bottom shelf. Often I would have trouble falling asleep and would creep to that old bookshelf and take a handful of books back to bed with me. I felt far less alone surrounded by “The Little Engine” and “The Lonely Little Puppy”.
Today, I don’t go anywhere without something to read.
My mother regularly took us to the library when we were very little—I did the same with my children. She, as I did, would sit on the floor and read tens of books and look at hundreds of pictures. My brother and I would each pick out three or four books to take home and look at them over and over again. Returning them was always like losing a friend.
Even in the darkest, most overwhelming times books have the power to transport us to an entirely new reality, and when we allow them to they change us. Especially children.
One of my daughters had a tendency toward getting quite emotional and having fits. Over time, we discovered that one of the surest calming remedies was to sit quietly with a book and wait for her to join us. Some nights, story time went on for hours.
Albert Einstein said: The only thing that you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.
He was right. Libraries have been educating, soothing and entertaining the American public since John Harvard donated 400 books to the first Boston library in 1636. A person can learn anything with a book and a person can teach anything with writing but books are far more than educational. Stories have a magical way of uniting and bonding us. Dr. Seuss, and J.K. Rowling are fine examples of best selling authors who changed children’s literature forever. By the time her seventh book came out Rowling had become one of the best selling authors of all time. Hogwarts, Muggle and Quidditch all became household words. We all knew Harry Potter. We became united through literature, and children’s literature at that.
Today, in many households, children spend a fair amount of time alone. We have reluctantly yet undeniably turned to social media and television to help raise our children. It is becoming more and more important to revive our children’s interest in reading and in frequenting libraries as opposed to malls and movie theaters.
I think, instead of buying a child a video game we ought to gift him with books. Instead of bringing flowers to a friend who is ill, a journal, and instead of television—bed-time stories. Don’t have kids? Slip into something sexy and comfortable and read your partner “50 Shades of Grey”.
With books, the possibilities are endless.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: elephant archives