The Magic Of Books, Or Why I Really, Really Want You To Support The VFEE Book Fair

By on June 8, 2019

Photo by Olga Pogodina on Unsplash

I have always loved books, which should come as no surprise. I’m a school librarian. If I didn’t love reading, I would be in the wrong occupation.

But why? What is so special about books?

I think human beings want to be entertained. Hello, Netflix anyone? But what makes a book different from a movie?

I think we have all heard someone say, “The book was better than the movie. The movie left out a lot of things that happened in the book.” The reason is that movies have limits. The story needs to be told in about two hours. There are production costs to consider. I don’t know much about making movies, but I do know a little bit about making books, because I’ve had the privilege of meeting some really great authors over the years.

I know authors will stay up late, wake up early, persist for years and years, and do whatever it takes to make sure that their story is told. I know that authors don’t need to worry about CGI technology, or temperamental actors, or exotic film locations. Authors have imaginations, experiences, and words.

I love movies by the way. I just love books more.

There is something so pure about a book. In a world where a robot can vacuum my floors and a car can drive itself and my phone has practically become another appendage, a book seems like a really old-fashioned thing. A book to me is something magical. A novel is a heartfelt gift from an author who sweat and toiled at her computer to tell you the story that had to be told. A memoir is the honest and raw truth that the writer poured straight from his heart onto the page. A book is nothing but paper and ink bound together by the author’s promise that if you spend a few hours with her, you’ll be better for it.

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Books are expensive, especially if you choose to support an independent book store with your purchases. But do you know what we really can’t afford? A society of people who don’t make time to read and think and CARE about the stories that other people have to tell.

The Verona Foundation for Educational Excellence (VFEE) recently asked me to hold a summer reading book fair at HBW. I said yes with no hesitation. I love VFEE as much as I love books. I also love libraries, and some of you may be wondering why you should purchase a summer reading book for your child instead of borrowing a book from the middle school library or the public library.

By all means, borrow books. I’d be living in my car if borrowing books was not my habit. But there is something really special about owning a book. Rereading it. Seeing it on your bookshelf and remembering how it made you feel. Passing it on to someone you love or just holding onto the magic of that book forever.

If you were going to buy a book for your child this summer anyway, please support an organization that supports Verona’s schools. Also, I have worked with Watchung Booksellers for many years. I dare you to find a better independent book store. I love Amazon as much as the next person, but Amazon didn’t recommend and gift wrap books for my dad for Father’s Day.

Please support the VFEE Summer Reading Book Fair on June 18 and 19 from 12:45 to 3:45 p.m. at the HBW Library. Order a book from the pre-sale. If your child doesn’t go to HBW, I’ll figure it out. You can email me, and we will make it happen.

One more thing. I know sometimes children moan and groan about summer reading, or even reading in general. Buy them the graphic novel if they want it. Let them reread their favorite book. Get an audiobook for your child. Watch the movie to pique their interest. Read the book together. Bribe them if you have to.

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On the subject of reading bribes, here’s a little story on how my mom got my sister and me into reading. We didn’t have central air conditioning growing up. My mom had a really powerful air conditioner in her bedroom, though. I remember many summer nights camped out with my mom and sister, all three of us reading books as the air conditioner worked its magic. And the books worked their magic, too.

I hope your child falls under the spell of books this summer. See you at the book fair!

Jennifer Kleinknecht has been the media specialist at H.B. Whitehorne Middle School since 2007. She writes about life as a school librarian on her blog, “The ‘Yes’ Librarian”. (Photo by Olga Pogodina on Unsplash)

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