My thankfulness continues into the new year.
Books have always been an important part of my life. They enrich my senses, increase my knowledge, entertain my mind, and deepen my thinking. Sometimes they change my thinking. Often they make me cry. Occasionally they make me mad or stir me to action. Always they take me outside myself.
I remember the first book I read that transported me – The Plow Penny Mystery, in third grade. I was also a big fan of Freddy the Pig books by Walter Brooks. Another milestone came when I was sitting on a swing in our backyard in fifth grade and reading my social studies text about early America – the history became real in that moment. (Must have been an engagingly written text!) I had to work through “summer reading” assignments in high school that often caused me dismay, but I am a better, more complete person for having read and discussed those classics. And I had amazing high school “English” teachers who made even the driest literature come to life. As an adult I have been part of book clubs that have allowed me to process my thinking about stories and texts through conversations about the books and about how they relate to our lives. That talk time is SUCH a key ingredient to making a book your own and absorbing it into your being. My husband and I shared very special times with each of our children when we read books to them (repeatedly, over and over, with some of their favorites!) when they were young. Early on in my teaching career I got my Masters degree in reading simply because I had come to understand how vital knowing how to read would be in all the subjects I was teaching my students. I never imagined I would be able to use this certification in changing positions, but I did, and became a reading specialist for my last ten years of teaching. During that time I became “friends” with so many amazing children’s books, and I was able to recommend them to teachers for their comprehension lessons with their students. Boxes of my personal collection came home with me when I retired, and I look forward to sharing those stories with my grandchild(ren?), too.
My life would be much less interesting, poorly informed, lacking spark and color, and so mundane without books. Maybe someday I can write my own, but until then I am grateful for the authors and illustrators that have created these wonders.
I am so thankful.