Since I was a child, I’ve always enjoyed getting books as presents, and now I love to give books as presents, especially to my children. There have been some outstanding books over the years that I’ve received, some that still have a special place on my book shelves. One of the first books I received was a beautifully illustrated copy of “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott that I was given for being a candle lighter in a cousin’s wedding. This copy is still on my shelf, next to two other copies, one that is an old copy from the 50s with an old cover, and a copy for reading. “Little Women” is one of my favorite books, so much so that my oldest daughter’s middle name is Josephine. In fact, when I found out I was pregnant, the first thing I bought wasn’t a cute sleeper or baby toys but a copy of “Little Women” for what I knew was going to be a girl. Louisa May Alcott’s books have always been a favorite read. Even after reading it many times, I still cry (SPOILER ALERT) when, in “Jo’s Boys”, Dan dies.
I can remember unwrapping books many Christmas mornings. There was one year that my mom had found so many books at garage sales and used book stores that there was a paper grocery sack under the tree with my name on it. While the wrapping may not have been the fanciest, the bag did lend itself to carrying the books to my room.
One thing I particularly enjoy when giving books, is making it an event or a special memory. My oldest daughter, Renee, had become a fan of Catherine Jinks and her Evil Genius book series, and was eagerly awaiting book three. The books feature Cadel Piggot, a young anti-social teen who is a computer hacker and genius. He discovers his criminal abilities when enrolled in a criminal academy geared towards evil geniuses. The only problem was, Catherine Jinks is an English author, and “The Genius Wars” came out in England in October, but wasn’t due in America till the following June or so. Thanks to international shipping and Amazon.uk Santa Claus was able to pick up the book and deliver it Christmas Eve. She was so excited about the fact that she was probably the only kid in Missouri reading that book already.
Last year’s must have Christmas present for my daughter, Samantha, was her own set of the Sisters Grimm books by Michael Buckley. The books feature two sisters who are the descendents of the original Brothers Grimm who wrote the fairytales. Except it turns out they weren’t just stories. These books feature the fairytales, dark and slightly twisted (as they were originally intended) set in today’s world. Grandma and Grandpa bought her those and the books were unwrapped to squeals of joy.
This year my youngest daughter turned eleven, and was finally old enough to start reading the Harry Potter books. She’d been anxiously awaiting that day since both my sixteen-year-old and me are Harry Potter fans, or Potterheads as my teenager says. For Samantha’s birthday, we bought a stuffed white owl, made a Hogwarts acceptance letter for her that was exactly like Harry’s letter, and had the owl sitting on the doorstep with the letter tied to its foot. When she opened the door that morning she was ecstatic, even more so when she opened her very own copy of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling.
If you have someone that you know is a reader, presents that fit their love of books can be easy and fun to do. Gift cards to book stores can be attached to book marks or reading lights. Baskets can be put together with a warm and cozy lap blanket, fuzzy socks, a mug, tea or coffee, anything that would be their reading experience more enjoyable. And of course, a book bag to help carry their books to and from the library.