30 Nov, 2010
Gifting books to children
Awhile back I posted a list of great book ideas for kids of middling age. (I hesitate to say tween, because so many of the books mentioned in the post and in the comments afterwards make wonderful material for family time/out-loud reading.)
We all know that books make the best gifts, but my question for you today is this… when you gift a book, do you write anything inside the book to the gift recipient? This recent post got me thinking about messages in books too. When I shop for secondhand books I love finding an inscription. I wonder about the people involved – who gave it, who got it, why did it end up at the Salvation Army? I think it’s a lovely practice. I should do it more often.
Sometimes when I give a child a book (not my own child) and it’s a “keeper” book (i.e. a pricey gift book that I hope they’ll hold onto) I like to write a little poem in it. And here it is:
Child! Do Not Throw This Book About,
by Hilaire Belloc
Child! do not throw this book about;
Refrain from the unholy pleasure
Of cutting all the pictures out!
Preserve it as your chiefest treasure.
Child, have you never heard it said
That you are heir to all the ages?
Why, then, your hands were never made
To tear these beautiful thick pages!
Your little hands were made to take
The better things and leave the worse ones.
They also may be used to shake
The Massive Paws of Elder Persons.
And when your prayers complete the day,
Darling, your little tiny hands
Were also made, I think, to pray
For men that lose their fairylands.
p.s. tomorrow is DAY ONE of 25Days. (!)