Give the Gift of Books

I’m a minimalist.

Except when it comes to books.

I’m not positive but I suspect it stems from moving so much in my life. Several times I’ve moved with all my belongings crammed in a car — a rolled-up futon, some clothes, and of course, a ton of books.

A few of those books were ones from my childhood. During all those times of culling my belongings and packing up my car to move cross-country, a few treasured childhood books have always made the cut.

In fact, the only items I have from when I was a child are those books.

That is why when it comes to gift giving time, the first thing I think about for a child is a book.

Books opened up the world to me when I was a child living in a small Northern California town.

Here’s what has made the cut in my life:

A set of mystery books by Wylly Folk St. John.

My oversized “This is Paris” book. Inside, my mother’s friend who went to Paris wrote that she hoped I would visit that city one day. I have.

A Babar book I loved to pieces.

A Fox in Sox book signed by my grandmother.

But my favorite is a child’s thesaurus my fourth grade teacher gave me. Inside, she wrote about how she knew one day I was going to be an author!

I would love to find Mrs. Ward and let her know that my dream came true. If find her, I’m going to let her know that she was one of those remarkable teachers that change a child’s life. But that’s a whole different post.

So, now as an adult, I give kids books as gifts. Maybe my book and its inscription will encourage them to write a book, to move to Paris, or simply to take pleasure in reading.

I don’t know if these gifted books will end up treasured items or land in the January donation box. Heck, I don’t even know if they’ll read them.

But if there is the slightest chance I can pass on a book that will become a treasured belonging in another person’s life, then I’ve done my job.

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Author: kristibelcamino

Kristi Belcamino is a crime writer, photographer, and artist who also bakes a tasty biscotti. Her debut mystery, BLESSED ARE THE DEAD, will be published in June 2014. www.kristibelcamino.com

10 thoughts on “Give the Gift of Books”

  1. Me too. I am forever looking for books, even for people who aren’t necessarily readers, on the off chance that it might tempt them to become readers. And I, too, have books that I have toted around since childhood – some of them “loved to pieces” too!

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  2. I agree about books as gifts, and I always expect at least one book for Christmas for me! And just like you, Kristi, through many moves, I’ve gotten lean and mean on my belongings but my childhood books stay with me.

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  3. Oh, such a great post. Understand completely. And I hope you do tell your teacher! (Have you ever read the beginning part of THE PRINCESS BRIDE, where William Goldman tries to come up with the appropriately successful yet modest inscription for his inspirational teacher? Awesome.)

    ps: We had a BABAR and FOX IN SOCKS that were super special too! Cheers (holding up book to clink instead of glass)!

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  4. Love this! I absolutely agree about Agatha Christie being a mind blowing experience early on. And still is. I ended up going on Ebay and tracking down old, childhood storybooks. My favorites were “Miss Suzy,” a story about a squirrel whose house was in the “tip, tip top of the old, oak tree.” My son caught the reading bug early; my daughter just recently. Right now, my daughter is reading another Ebay recovery, “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.” (Hope I spelled that right.)
    As far as trimming back, I started doing that with books when I shifted to Kindle reading. My bookshelves are still crammed but they are slowly shifting from fiction to non-fiction. I find I much prefer reading fiction on an ereader, but still need a print version for non.

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  5. Duh. The Agatha Christie comment was supposed to be for today’s post. This is what happens when I try to play “catch up” when I’m so cold I can feel my heart beat slow and precious brain cells freezing up. (Our furnace is out and I’m skipping work to wait for the heating guy.)

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  6. Well said! Books are the best gifts. They’re inexpensive, easy to wrap and provide hours upon hours of entertainment. But above all, books are incredibly thoughtful and personal gifts. You pretty much articulated all the reasons why I did 90 percent of my Xmas shopping at my local independent book store. 🙂

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