Last week the first toy catalog arrived in the mail. Immediately, I stashed it in a safe place so that when the “grands” came over later in the week, they could have the fun of going through it. They were delighted to see it and spent at least a half hour checking out the seasons’ newest gifts for kids. Admittedly, receiving flashy, new toys is one of the best parts of the holiday for youngsters. So let’s get this straight from the start…I’m not a Scrooge. May I, however, suggest that you add a few books into that mix of toys. Here are five reasons books make great gifts for the young people in your life:
- Books Entertain: We all like to give and receive presents that entertain us. Books top the list. Think about the amount of time it takes to read a book. Think about the hours of enjoyment a child receives when he delves into a fiction or non-fiction book that piques his interest. In terms of pleasure, I’d put an intriguing book up against the season’s most popular toys, wouldn’t you?
- Books Educate: The array of books available for kids of all ages is astonishing and fiction as well as non-fiction opens new worlds to the reader. Only within the pages of a book can you visit new places, meet new people, take on a new identity, hone your problem solving and critical thinking skills, learn new words and experience a variety of emotions all from the comfort of your own home. Quite a gift, don’t you agree?
- Books Empower: “Reading is thinking.” Few people would deny the importance of offering kids lots of opportunties to think critically. Few people would deny the importance of emboldening youngsters ability to consider multiple viewpoints and make good decisions. Few people would deny the need to empower kids with knowledge and confidence. Reading reinforces the lifeskills necessary to survive and succeed in today’s world.
- Books Last: Among the many books that live in our home are many treasured texts that have been given as gifts to someone in our family. Here’s just a sampling… When our two youngest children were little, we used to purchase the paperback Bernstein Bear Books for Rose and Joe as gifts or a reward. Now the collection of over twenty-five Bernstein Bear books are a huge hit with all our grandchildren. The kids love to see their parent’s or uncle’s name scribbled on the inside in their childish print. Some have stickers or drawings on the inside cover. The fact that the books are not in topnotch condition only conveys how much they were read and loved. It’s wonderful to revisit these timeless tales with the grandkids. I I own a beautiful missal inscribed by my Godfather. Everytime I use it, I think about Uncle Gerry and the good man he was. There’s a well-worn copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends that my sister gave to our son, Jack. Jack lets me keep it at our house because he knows I regularly read the funny poems to all the grandkids. But some day, when my sister passes, I know Jack will cherish this book as a reminder of her love. Inscribe the books you give with the date and a little note. They will become reminders of your love and wish to present the recipient with a meaningful gift that will withstand the text of time.
- Books are Inexpensive: Based on all of the above, I challenge you to find a gift that offers as much “bang for your buck” as a book.
BOOK RECOMMENDATION: The Christmas Menorahs by Janice Cohn A rock is thrown through the window of Isaac’s room where a menorah is displayed. This incident sets the stage for a thought-provoking story based on a true occurrence in Billings, Montana. If you are looking for a book to discuss prejudice and prompt discussion, this tale of how a town came together to fight hate is just the ticket. Complete with beautiful illustrations and a non-fictional summary of the real event, this is great book to share with youngsters in Grades 3 and up.