As retired teachers and avid readers, my husband and I decided that we would put up a little library so our neighbors can find a book, leave a book, and know that it is an option in our part of town.
I sit in front of my living room window and watch people walk their dogs, ride their bikes, or drive by in their golf cart or car. Originally the books were for adult readers (mysteries, thrillers, how-to books, politics and other topics that would not interest young readers. Often I see people stop and check out the offerings. It makes me wish it wasn’t so “little.”
The school bus stops in front of our house, and I thought about the children who might like a little library of their own. We put one up right next to the “grown up” library. If we knew enough carpentry, we could have built it ourselves, but we bought one on Amazon. My husband sunk it deeper into the ground so kids could reach it easily.
I have loads of children’s books that my grandchildren have outgrown. It is pure joy to see kids stop to pick out a book. One mom donated several books. Soon the children’s library was stuffed. We had to put out a plastic tub with a lid for the overflow. I truly hope it has inspired passersby to put up a little library in their own neighborhood.
Once I learned to read at the age of five there was no stopping me. I read the back of cereal boxes and the ingredients in every can in the kitchen. I loved rhyming books the most. It was a special treat when my stepfather came home from the grocery store with Archie and Veronica comic books. The Sunday comics were something I waited for all week. Once I discovered Nancy Drew I wanted to be a detective. She was smart, confident and curious.
In school I usually had the task of helping the struggling readers. I often wondered why the teacher didn’t work more closely to bring along students who couldn’t read as well. I didn’t mind, as I was usually bored with the stories in the designated reader.
The teachers I remember the most are those who presented a book in a way that grabbed my attention. When I read The Good Earth by Pearl Buck, I was wanting to know more. I didn’t want the book to end. One teacher introduced me to Shakespeare and I was hooked. She would ask open-ended questions and put us in groups to discuss and act out pivotal scenes. Another teacher introduced me to classics, Moby Dick, The Grapes of Wrath, Beloved, The Alchemist, My Antonia, The Call of the Wild, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Pearl, and so many more.
I have always escaped into books. It has been a way to learn of other ways of living, exploring different perspectives, trying out new vocabulary. Books are my friend, a constant I can count on for entertainment as well as enlightenment. On top of my dresser is a basket filled with “To Be Read” books. My guess is that it will always be full.
A child’s imagination is unlimited and should be encouraged and celebrated. Reading to children and asking questions like, “I wonder what will happen next,” allows them to construct their own scenarios. Children learn through repetition and exposure to a variety of experiences.
Books that become familiar are like the foundation of a house. Once a child finds a book that sparks their imagination, they see wonderful possibilities that didn’t exist before. A trip to the library can open a world of possibilities to a growing mind. Reading aloud is especially important in that it helps children equate reading with caring and enjoyment.
Fairy Tales offer an opportunity to go outside reality and explore a creative world where animals talk, a lesson is bestowed and magical things happen. My granddaughter in the photo above is looking for fairies or leprechauns. That beautiful gift of imagination grows through books. Here are some books that are fantasy and fairy tales. Check with your local library to see if they are available.
Begin your collection of children’s books. Make sure you check out your local library book sales, thrift stores, yard sales, online sources.
Last night I fell asleep reading a thriller (my new favorite genre). Mind you, it was 1 a.m. and I was hopeful I would finish the last third of the book. There is something hypnotic about eyes moving across a page, even if it is a thriller. When a parent reads to a child the child learns to equate books with pleasure and comfort. Changing your voice to match the personality of a character captivates a child. They learn to imitate the reader. So much of what children learn is through imitation. Parents who read books leave an imprint that promotes a love of reading.
It is important that children select their own books to allow them to explore their interests. Books are the passageways to other cultures, places, experiences. The books they choose must be at their reading level. It’s good to use the “Five Finger Rule.” If a child makes 5 mistakes when reading a page, that book is too difficult. Direct the child to a book that is appropriate for their reading level yet honors their choice. If they insist on a book that is too hard, offer to read it to them. It’s always best when they find a book they can read themself.
These days children are doing much of their reading on devices (iPads, phones, laptops). You may think, “at least they’re reading,” but a Harvard study showed that,
Put your Ipad or phone in another room before bedtime. Resist the urge to allow children to use a device prior to bedtime.
Make sure a child has access to books. Local libraries, thrift stores, Little Libraries, garage sales, online read aloud websites, and book swaps are ways to accumulate your personal library. Check out these:
Ever since I was a child I have loved books. I found the joy of traveling in my mind to exotic places where I could experience adventure, and become someone else. I could be a scientist, an explorer, a hero or a villain. Each book brought new possibilities.
Everywhere I went I would be sure to bring a book. Being called a bookworm was not offensive to me. I preferred reading to interacting with those who didn’t share my fascination with books. I can only assume that a person who doesn’t enjoy reading has not found the right book that captures their interest. To this day I carry a book with me (sometimes on the Kindle app on my phone).
I like to explore various genres to broaden my choices and gather information. There is much to be gained by selecting a book on a topic that has been on your mind. I knew I liked pictures of New Zealand, but reading about it and learning customs, culture and history has increased my knowledge base substantially. When discussing a topic it is always better to have facts from reliable sources. I never realized how much I would enjoy nonfiction books, but the information enhances my vocabulary while strengthening my knowledge base. A real win!
Historical fiction and thrillers are the latest genres that appeal to me. I have had the pleasure of joining two online book clubs and have engaged in discussions with a few authors. It opens up an entire world once your mind is open to learning from an author’s perspective. It’s often surprising when I find myself challenging my own long held beliefs. In that way books are helping me grow my mind.
If you are like many people today you use your cell phone, Ipad or laptop to get updates on news and happenings. I encourage you to make time for reading a book instead. The benefits are worthy of your time and attention. You have heard the phrase, “Use it or lose it.” Well, it applies to your brain. Reading stimulates your brain and allows new information to get lodged in longterm storage. The physical act of turning pages makes reading tactile, activating an area of your brain. Reading also allows you a break from stressful situations and provides an opportunity to experience places and have adventures in your mind. You gain new information that can be come in handy at some point.
Moreover, reading expands your vocabulary and helps improve critical thinking skills. There is a strong connection between reading and writing. Exposure to published, well-written work has a noted effect on one’s own writing, as observing the cadence, fluidity, and writing styles of other authors will invariably influence your own work. So next time you are inclined to grab your phone or ipad, pick up a good book and enjoy the benefits of turning the pages.
Here are some suggestions:
Set Boundaries, Find Peace presents simple-yet-powerful ways to establish healthy boundaries in all aspects of life. Rooted in the latest research and best practices used in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), these techniques help us identify and express our needs clearly and without apology–and unravel a root problem behind codependency, power struggles, anxiety, depression, burnout, and more.
While there is no such thing as an “Authenticity Expert,” you now have a viable alternative. Morhaf Al Achkar obtained his Ph.D in education and is currently a practicing family physician at the University of Washington. He was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Since then, his research has focused on the experiences of patients living with cancer. His first book is based on interviews he did with 39 patients who live, like him, with advanced illness. He explored how these patients find meaning, cope, and build resilience. Using his own experiences and deep knowledge of philosophical concepts, Morhaf shares his understanding of authenticity from the perspective of someone aware of his own finitude.
◆ By following along with his fascinating life story, Morhaf invites you on a journey of dialogue and reflection to live a more authentic and purposeful life with integrity.
A Life Without Water can be read as a standalone, but is part of an overarching three book A Life Without Water Series. It is women’s fiction that pulls at your heartstrings from your new favorite author Marci Bolden. If you are seeking awell written, heartbreaking book about forgiveness, and finding peace amidst a tragedy . . . this book is for you!
The book looks at the most serious issues and helps the reader process them. From the instructions: ”Write about what keeps you awake at night. The emotional upheaval bothering you the most and keeping you awake at night is a good place to start writing.”
A charming, clever, and quietly moving novel of of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that explores the promises we make and break, losing and finding ourselves, the objects that hold magic and meaning for our lives, and the surprising connections that bind us.
A revelatory look at the complexity of Gandhi’s thinking and motives, the book is a luminous portrait of not only the man himself, but also those closest to him—family, friends, and political and social leaders.
Five shots on Saturday morning change their fate forever…
Shurka is a happy young woman who lives a fairy tale life with her beloved husband and their two young children, in a pretty house in a village in Poland.
She believes that nothing can hurt them. Or so she thinks…
Then, World War II breaks out and the happy family quickly understands that their happiness has come to a brutal end. The family is forced to flee their house and find shelter in a neighboring ghetto, where they come to realized that the Gestapo is taking Jews away on trucks every night, never to be seen again.
I’ve wanted a free library ever since I saw one a few years ago. It was conveniently placed in a yard near the entrance to the beach parking lot near my home. It inspired me to investigate the cost of making one. Inside that little library there were a variety of paperbacks and several children’s books. I even spotted one that I donated a year ago to the elementary school. I have made a few trips in my golf cart to stock that mini-library with books I have read and exchange them for one that caught my eye. This weekend I will be stocking our own! My husband found a kit online and I ordered it. He is following the directions and waiting for the stain to dry. I hope that children of all ages will stop and take a book with them to enjoy at the beach or the dog park.
I have been reading more in the last 14 months than I ever have. Being the owner of at least fifty books that been collecting dust, I kept promising myself I would use the pandemic as an opportunity to catch up on my reading. I am glad to report that I completed almost every book. Some of the books I read were previously cast aside as not worthy of my time. I hastily concluded that if the first few pages failed to capture my interest, then it would make it to the “to be read” shelf.
Lately I have approached each book on my cast off shelf with a new perspective since I realized how grateful I am to have choices of books to read. There have been a few books that brought me on a journey, several brought me to tears, and most became a blessed escape from current events. I will take that “hug” anytime!
Listed below are powerful books that I read during the height of the pandemic. Some offered hope, others offered escape, they all offered me time with a great book.
A true account of life in unimaginable circumstances as told by a Holocaust survivor. A lesson on what is important.
A guide to finding peace and calm in times of trouble. His book is an easy read and has gems of wisdom throughout.
This book will help you break old habits and build habits that will serve you well.
A beautiful tale of a childless couple in the wilderness of Alaska during the 1920s. The imagery alone makes this a beautiful book. The story is one that will stay with you for awhile.
A tribute to the grit of the women who survived during the Dust Bowl era. As fierce as the winds were during that time, a mother’s love and devotion prevails. A great read from an author who can write an epic with incredible power.
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