Guest post by Emma Bell
My life has been filled with books since as early as I can remember. My mom’s a retired English teacher, and as opposed to force-feeding us into developing a love of reading, she simply gave my family easy access to the classics. Books were always there – and without the pressure to read this story or that my siblings and I just naturally grew up to be avid readers.
As a young child my favorite book was one that my older brother had sent off for, a Flintstones sort of mystery caper that had me as the protagonist. Because of my age I didn’t realize how this magical thing had happened, with my name and my siblings’ names laced throughout the story. I was aware enough to know that this brother whom I often thought didn’t care, did. And this was long before the advent of digital printing and personal computers; it took some doing, mailing off the information and money required to personalize a children’s book.
Technology took story telling into unimaginable realms, where as a kid I never could have predicted Ebooks and various digital downloads. I only knew what I had grown up with, words on paper in books that had weight and value to me. I still love the smell of books, both the new and fresh and the musty and old. I also love the convenience of being able to store countless stories on a hard drive too, but my heart still holds physical, tangible books as something sacred. Even as I minimized many of my possessions there were some books that I simply couldn’t part with because in many ways I view them as friends who have helped shape my way of looking at the world. And to see a child’s eyes light up when they spot one of their beloved books and then bring it to you to share is simply not something that technology can replace. Well-loved books are dog-eared and worn and everyone knows that “real” cookbooks are those riddled with stains from various delicious ingredients joined together in meals that helped woo lovers, cement friendships and also share in thanks with family.
Books have been banned, burned, reviled and revered; why is that? Because books make us think. Books don’t spell it all out in black and white; we as readers play an active part in visualizing the scenes just so. The story’s the thing, no matter how you ingest it, be it through eyes, ears or fingers; stories that expand minds, sway opinions, unite seemingly kindred spirits. They teach us, entertain us, make us feel connected just as others describe feelings of isolation and despair.
However you take the time to “read” a book, whether listening to an audio book on your morning walk or by curling up in front of a fire with a cup of tea – take the time for yourself to hear someone else’s story, you’ll be a better human for it.
Author Emma Bell writes for Coupon Croc. Want a personalized story for your child? Look here.