Holiday Bookish-ness

***this is a sticky post until December 1, 2008***

When I was small, my cousin Cora was my idol.  She was about 15 years older than I, was attending college (something no other woman in my family had yet done), was well read and intelligent.  She also played the piano, and actually started me out by teaching me those little one finger pieces every beginner must learn.

Cora always gave me a book for Christmas.  A hardcover book at that.  I got the complete Little House series, one by one.  All the Betsy Tacy books, and some Nancy Drews (don’t shoot me, but I was never a huge Nancy fan).

Those bookish gifts made quite an impression on me.  They meant that this adult took my reading life seriously and knew that books were important enough to be fitting gifts. 

I’ve carried on that tradition whenever possible, giving books as gifts to any children on my holiday shopping lists (which, at one time, included all three of Cora’s children!)

So I’m quite happy to join My Friend Amy’s  promotion and pledge to Buy Book’s For The Holidays.  I   especially encourage you to begin a holiday tradition of buying books for the children on your list – nieces, nephews, godchildren, and cousins.   If you’re able, sit down with the littlest ones and read their book gift to them.  I promise it will make a precious memory for you both.

Because I feel so strongly about encouraging and enabling children to read, I’m also supporting First Book, a non-profit organization whose aim is to provide books to children in need.  For everyone who comments here between now and December 1, 2008, with a pledge to purchase a book for a child in their life this holiday season, I will donate $2.50 to First Book (their cost to provide a child with a book).  Since Random House is matching all gifts to First Book until December 31, 2008, together we can put a lot of books into the hands of children this holiday season.  Plus, I’ll enter your name in a giveaway for a $25.00 Barnes and Noble gift card, so you can purchase some books as gifts for yourself.

Let’s make some bookish memories for children this holiday season.  You never know, you might become someone’s idol, just like my cousin Cora did.


20 thoughts on “Holiday Bookish-ness

  1. Becca, I have! I pledge to do it and have just done it, in fact. I just bought two books for two precious kids today. Though relatives, I hardly know them but hope to reach out and embrace them (I’m their great aunt) across the miles with these cool little books that will delight them (animal puppies and 3d dinosaurs).
    So count me in. I’ve done two. And I pledge to buy 2 more for 2 more kids (who belong to a dear friend.)
    An awesome idea, dear Becca, and hope it is wildly successful.
    signed Oh (

  2. What a great idea!!! I’ve seen this movement begin to gain momentum, and I’m very excited about it. I just bought the gorgeous River of Words for a child. I’m going to the bookstore later today to buy more. I am hands-down buying books for Christmas. My goodness. Saving the publishing industry (and are culture) has come down, squarely, on us.

  3. Oh: Animal puppy and dinosaur books should be a hit…how lovely for your great niece/nephew to get gifts from afar 🙂

    Alyce: Good for you! Thanks!

    Beth: I’m not familiar with River of Words, but I’ll look for it. I actually have very few children to buy books for these days, one reason why I’m excited to do this little plan of mine 🙂

  4. This is brilliant, Becca. I buy books like crazy for Christmas gifts. Also gift cards for book stores so older kids can pick out their own books.
    I will certainly be buying books for my great neice and great nephew this Christmas. First Book is on my visit list today. Thanks!

  5. What a great idea! Put my name down for the pledge, please! The book-buying tradition is already alive and well here — even the tooth fairy has been known to slip books under pillows at our house. In fact, I bought a book to give my daughter just this afternoon.

    As a parent, I love it when people give my kids books. In addition to promoting the joy of reading, every gift of a book means (hopefully) one less crappy plastic toy.

  6. Very nice! I pledge to buy at least 3 books for kids (son, daughter and nephew) this year.

    When my mother insisted on a baby shower for my son some years ago, I resisted until she tempted me with a “Baby’s First Library” shower, in which the only gifts guests could bring was a book to add to my son’s “library.” It was awesome.

    To this day, although neither of my kidlets are old enough to read yet, they each have dozens and dozens of books. We read for bedtime and naptime….and in between. 🙂 Reading is one of the greatest gifts you can give them.

  7. Quigrainne: “I buy books like crazy for Christmas gifts” – so how do I get on your gift list 🙂

    Julie: A tooth fairy who leaves books under the pillow – now that’s my kind of reward!

    Michele: I love the idea of a Baby Library Shower – how fabulous! I always give a bag of books for a baby gift, but an entire shower -excellent! And you’re quite right, reading to children from a very young age pays big rewards later on.

  8. Becca – a few months ago I set up a “book blogging team” on First Book’s “Books for Kids, Books for Keeps” program.

    Would you consider joining my team, and making your donations there. It will be great to see the impact book bloggers (and readers of book blogs!) can make.

    The link is here

    That’s my “page” , if you click up to “join my team” you can create your own “page” (under your name). They’ll all be under the umbrella of “Book Bloggers”

  9. I’m totally buying book for gifts this year. I’ve started a spreadsheet trying to list the names of all my friends and pair up with the right books.

    * * * *
    To your comment on The Dogs of Babel, you’ve said it Becca. I found the book very beautiful but sad—the husband came to learn fully of who the person is after the wife died. The bereavement forays into a drapery of memories. I’m including this point in my write-up for the book.

  10. As the “book aunt” in my family, I always buy books for the children I know, but I’m a longtime supporter of First Book, as well. In fact, I was their very first blogathon blogger!

    You’re doing a wonderful thing, and if there’s a way I can help (on the recently revived Bibliotica, or at let me know.

  11. When i gift there is usually a book in there as well, I firmly believe in helping children read and to this you have to start the love of books early.

  12. I will be pledging to buy three books this Christmas as gifts for my niece and two nephews. I have already started a tradition of giving them books for each birthday. I think extending that practice to Christmas is a great idea!

    If anyone has any ideas about good books for begininng readers, my niece is in first grade and just starting to read chapter books. Any good suggestions for something she would be able to read on her own?

  13. Matthew: A spreadsheet to organize you book gifts – now that’s impressive!

    Melissa: I remember seeing a FirstBook badge on your blog a long time ago. It’s a great organization.

    Diane: You’re right, it’s never too early to start little ones on the love of reading.

    Leslie: Good for you, for buying books for your family! It’s been so long since my son was a young reader, but I remember him loving Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad series. I think they’re pretty timeless 🙂

  14. Four star cool! WKAR’s Ready To Learn Service distributes books from “First Book” to hundreds of children in mid-Michigan, so I am a big fan! In addition, one of my dinner group friends used to work for First Book before coming to Michigan!

    I have always been a big book-buyer for gifts young and old. Whether it’s falling into the magic pages of a beautifully illustrated picture book when very young, delving into a favorite from a youth series or enjoying books as we do as adults, they are the best presents period!

    And, let me throw in a little plug for small and independent bookstores, which are struggling like so many small businesses this year. True, you don’t get the Amazon deals, but it really helps build community, too!

  15. I will give at least one book to a child this holiday season. I already have a few set aside for this purpose.

    I hope First Book makes many kids happy this holiday season, because a lot of the best gifts are books!

  16. Becca, this is such a great idea. Count me in. I’ve already bought 28 books for my three kids and two little sisters. Are you counting only new books or used also? Only three of the books I’ve bought are new, the rest are used.

    Have a great week!

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