Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Love of Books

As I've mentioned before, I participate in a tutoring program at my church. This is my 5th year with the program, and my 4th year with the same student. J---- and I were paired up together when she entered the program as a 3rd grader, and now she's in 6th grade. Time flies!

Her birthday was on Sunday, so Monday night after tutoring, I took her out for dessert to celebrate. And Teller's managed to out-dessert the ultimate dessert-atarian! She was overwhelmed by the richness of their Molten Chocolate Cake with raspberry sorbet.

It was a Good Time.

I like to give books to J---- as birthday and Christmas gifts. Mostly I've been giving her the books that were my favorites when I was her age. First, I gave her the Chronicles of Narnia books, and last year, I gave her Anne of Green Gables. So this year, Anne of Avonlea was one of the books that I bought for her.

I also found a recommended reading guide, which was really helpful. Since J---- has read all of the new Nancy Drew books from her school's library, the guide book suggested Shakespeare's Secret by Elise Broach. I also picked out a jewelry-making instruction book / kit that looked fun.

(And because I think that it's really important to teach kids about money, I also bought Complete Idiot's Guide to Money for Teens. But that's a tutoring/mentoring aid, not a birthday gift. J---- usually finishes most of her homework before tutoring, and she doesn't really need to work on basic math or reading skills, so we're going to devote part of each tutoring session to reading this book and talking about money.)

This year, I decided to include a letter with J----'s gift. I thought I ought to share it here, in honor of all of the people who gave me books when I was a kid:
Dear J----,

I wanted to tell you a little bit about why I buy books for you as birthday gifts and Christmas presents. The first reason is that I’m your tutor, so I think it’s good to give you gifts that are at least somewhat educational. But that’s kind of a boring reason.

The other reason is because I love books. I have always loved to read, and that’s something that I want to share with you too. (When you love something, like reading or skiing, of course you want to share those activities with people that you care about!) Many of the books that I have given to you are books that were given to me by people who loved me.

My step-mother gave me the Chronicles of Narnia books when I was a little girl, because she also loved those books when she was younger. I’ve read them dozens of times, and I still re-read them every couple of years, because C.S. Lewis’ stories are more than just fairy tales. He was a very wise man who wrote some important books for adults, but adults can also learn from the stories that he wrote for little kids.

I bought you the Anne of Green Gables books because my grandmother bought those books for me. My grandparents used to go to Prince Edward Island for their vacation every year, and my grandmother bought the books for me while she was there. My grandmother loved history, especially the history of the United States and Canada, and I remember her house was filled with books. One of her hobbies was studying genealogy, and she discovered that she had an ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War.

So these books are a sort of heritage that I want to pass on to you. In addition to being great stories, they remind me of people who loved me. And I hope that when you think about these books, you’ll also remember that I gave them to you with lots of love!

1 comment:

Justin said...


You now mark the 11,343rd person who has reminded me that I should have read "The Chronicles of Narnia" by now. Even more remarkable than the fact that I haven't listened to any of them are the facts that my own wife is one of them, and that I have the entire set sitting five feet away on my bookshelf.'s about time I read them.

Instead, though, I'm afraid I'm going to keep thumbing through Stephen King novels and bizarre etymology and creepy science texts, lest I actually learn something spiritually valuable.

After your comment, I read through your blog for the past few months. I'm sorry to hear about your job, and the tough medical stuff... I hope 2009 has found you more fortune, and I hope to keep up with your story!