Does this need to be said? But how do I let 365 days fill up with gratitude without acknowledging the necessary-as-blood-and-water place of books in my life? My grandfather always said I had better be buried with a book in my hands or God wouldn’t recognize me at the Golden Gates. I saw a business card yesterday with the job title “Professional Reader.” How do I get THAT job? Books–in all of their forms–are the way I educate myself, my pathway to new ideas, my best source of humor, the way I travel, and the way I find beauty. I AM GRATEFUL FOR BOOKS!
I am a member of two book clubs. One reads and discusses books for children and teens. The other reads books about people who have grown up differently than I have, perhaps in another country or another neighborhood or another religion or another political ideology. The purposes of these book clubs might seem very different, but they both open my mind. They give me a group of people, seldom like-minded, with whom I can discuss Big Ideas and small details, try out my new understandings, and LEARN because the others have experiences I don’t. Sometimes, my feelings about a book or a topic take a 180º turn. I find great value in this. I am grateful for the opportunities to have open and honest discussions where people are considerate and respectful. These conversations are life-affirming. These book clubs give me hope.
A new batch of review books is piling up on my desk. Their topics are irresistible: voting rights, resiliency, the well-researched similarities between humans and other animals … topics that call for our attention in this weary world and surely cause concern and confusion among our children. I am grateful for this children’s literature community that listens, researches, and shares the truth in such a caring way. You are priceless! (pictured: a sampling of the many, many authors and illustrators who do their best for the children of the world)
I am grateful that I am a reader. For all of the people who showed me the way, thank you. For all of the readers who recommend books, thank you. I’m going to share a list of the books I’m reading right now. Each one has a bookmark poking out of it. I’m a Gemini; I like variety. I check out many of my books from the public library as e-books, so I don’t have a photo of all the physical books to share with you. Some of these are review copies that I’m reading for work, but reading seldom feels like work to me. How about you? Which books are you reading right now? I’ll be grateful to know.
Cat’s Guide to the Night Sky, Stuart Atkinson
Camp Panda, Catherine Thimmesh
Fresh Ink: an Anthology, ed. Lamar Giles
Gone-Away Lake, Elizabeth Enright
Time Sight, Lynne Jonell
Double Entry: How the Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance by Jane Gleeson-White
Hope Never Dies: an Obama-Biden Mystery, Andrew Shaffer
Platters and Boards, Shelly Westerhausen
Undaunted, Anita Silvey
Pardonable Lies (Maisie Dobbs #3), Jacqueline Winspear
Writing the Cozy Mystery, Nancy J. Cohen
Mighty Salads, Food 52
I recently re-read the first six Trixie Belden books. I gobbled up these books when I was reading at age 10 and 11. I read only one Nancy Drew book. My cousin had a collection and I read about Nancy while I was visiting. I couldn’t see myself in her. But Trixie Belden? She had a large family and I was an only child. She was insatiably curious and didn’t necessarily listen when someone told her no. Reading the books again all these years later? They hold up. I found myself trying hard to solve the mysteries before Trixie did. I was surprised by how often the boys told the girls what they couldn’t do because they were girls. But the girls didn’t listen. More thoughts about the context of history. I’m grateful to Julie Campbell Tatham for creating Trixie … just for me.
When I started working at the public library when I was 16, shelving books and magazines opened my world. I was attracted to The New Yorker by the cover art. I’ve been reading the magazine ever since then. I am especially grateful when the covers pay homage to books, reading, and libraries.
I am deliriously grateful for the educators (teachers and librarians, aides and paras) who care so much about reading and young readers that they ventured out on a cold February Saturday morning in Minnesota to talk with 26 authors and illustrators and 5 stellar booktalkers. It is a COMMUNITY of people who LOVE BOOKS and understand that if children grow to love books (stories and true books) their lives will be infinitely better. These are dedicated people. They listened carefully. They talked with new friends and old friends about books, books, and more books. Those Books for Breakfast feelings are keeping me warm! [Thanks to Debra Frasier for permission to use this photo.]
Last night, a group of teachers and children’s literature enthusiasts gathered to place good information in the folders each attendee will receive at the 2019 Books for Breakfast. The 25th anniversary of this event will take place at Rush Creek Golf Club on Saturday, Feb 2, 2019, from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon. I am so very grateful that this event is continuing–this connection between educators, librarians, and children’s book authors and illustrators is vital for the mental and emotional health of our children. My heartfelt thank you to Maurna Rome for organizing the event and to all those good-hearted people who worked together on a Minnesota winter evening. I hope you’ll be able to join us at the Breakfast!
When I was in school, I chose classes in reading, writing, and art before any others. Only when I couldn’t avoid a science or math class did I learn something about astronomy or algebra. If I could roll back time, I would make difference choices. I enjoy reading books and articles about science. For Christmas this year, I’m grateful that a good friend gave us A Year with Nature: an Almanac by Marty Crump (University of Chicago Press, 2018). Steve and I have taken to reading aloud one short entry after meditating each day. So far we’ve learned about hunting salamanders along the Amazon, the genetic discoveries that identified Huntington’s chorea, and the importance of horseshoe crab blood to testing vaccines. The author’s entries invite further exploration. It’s a delightful way to learn.
This photo is the background for my computer screen. You may recognize it as the main reading room at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. For me, it represents my dreams, goals, and ambitions. Reality and fantasy. Truth and fiction. The infinite possibility of discovery. I am grateful to the people who established this place that safeguards our knowledge and to those who carry on that mission. Do you follow them on Facebook? Something wonderful to behold each and every day.