As a fan of Christmas since my early days, I look to this time of year for tastes, smells and traditions that stir pleasant memories (see the album for some favorite tree ornaments). As a dedicated shopper, I jump into the frenzy of lists and wrapping and sending, enjoying the thought of what the recipients will find on opening what I have sent.
Once I discovered how much fun the giving was, I tend to indulge myself, selfishly in some ways, but so far nobody has ever complained!
This year I gave friends and family books, in many cases my own book, as well as Steps Across the Water, by Adam Gopnik and illustrated by Bruce McCall, and, A Kingdom Far and Clear, by Mark Helprin with illustrations by Chris Van Allsburg. Through the kindness of Peter Glassman of Books of Wonder, the amazing children’s book store in New York, these were signed and inscribed, making them special. I will never forget the thrill I felt when I along with my siblings received from my parents our own copies of Ludwig Bemelmans’ Parsley, signed to me.
It was knowing the author and illustrator had touched this copy and made it mine that was exciting. Books were always in our lives because both parents read extensively and read to us at bedtime, so we quickly learned how vast and full the world was out there, and that books were the doorways to it all.
Part of the joy I find when I am doing readings is that kids today are still very keen on books, they love to be read to, and they jump at the chance to dig into their own imaginations to see what they can find.
So, Christmas is always full of books, among other things, and I try to do my share of spreading the word(s)!