My parents never paid money for good grades, but they did pay books. At the end of every quarter, when our report cards came out, my brother and I got to go to the local bookstore and buy a book. I typically chose the latest Bobbsey Twins or Nancy Drew book, and he got Hardy Boys or Tom Swift.
I got an extra book the year I had to have a tooth pulled. I think my dad felt sorry for me, because on the way home from the dentist, he stopped at the bookstore and let me pick out another Nancy Drew. It was almost worth the pain of the Novocain shot.
I always loved opening the pages of a new book to explore the world hidden within. And when I was done with my book, I read my brother’s. (Though I don’t remember him reading Nancy Drew.)
I tried to pass on my love of books to my children. I took them to libraries frequently when they were small, and I was the “library mom” when my son was in the first grade, responsible for bringing thirty library books to the classroom every month to encourage the students to read.
When we visited a new city, my husband, children and I often found ourselves in the local bookstore. We browsed our way from Powell’s City of Books in Portland, Oregon, to the Strand in New York City. Our family is a family of readers, and bookstores were our amusement parks (sometimes to the children’s disappointment). Books were—and still are—among the presents we usually exchange on birthdays and Christmas.
Anyone who has seen the movie You’ve Got Mail knows that independent bookstores have been under siege for the last twenty years, first from the big chain bookstores like Barnes & Noble and Borders, and now from online stores like Amazon. The publishing industry is undergoing massive change all the way from authors (like me) who can publish their own ebooks and print-on-demand paperbacks for a few dollars to smartphones and e-readers permitting instant delivery of books both purchased and borrowed from online retailers and libraries.
Even though I am part of the sea-change impacting publishing today, both as an author and as a reader, I was delighted to find out about “Take Your Kids to a Bookstore Day.” “Take Your Kids to a Bookstore Day” was created by Jenny Milchman in 2010, as a way to encourage parents to expose their children to bookstores. In three years, it has grown to encompass bookstores from every state, Canada, England, Australia, and Germany. It is now developing into a national non-profit organization.
If you love books and want to pass your love of books on to the next generation, then do two things:
(1) Make plans now to take a kid (and yourself) to a bookstore . . . for special activities that many bookstores will have on December 7, or whenever you can, and
(2) Reblog or share this post to spread the word about “Take Your Kids to a Bookstore Day.”
What did you love most about books as a child?