Saturday, December 19, 2020

The Book Fairy

 When I was a child, I loved to read. Adored reading. I would read whatever I could get my hands on. Sometimes it was not appropriate. I read it anyway. 

My father worked long hours at the local steel mill, so he took the car. It didn't matter, because my mother did not drive. We were pretty much always at home. When the weather was bad, and we were cooped up, television was not often an option. We lived in a valley, and our aerial was up a mountain across the creek. That 750 feet of wire was often damaged, usually by squirrels nibbling on it. television generally speaking. Books were my escape. 

When I was in grade school, I was allowed to take one library book home a week. In the summer, the bookmobile came every two weeks and we walked into to our little town to wait in front of the post office with our returns. I remember the trip vividly because we had to cross a railroad trestle. I was afraid of heights and seeing the Brokenstraw Creek moving below me made me sick with fear. But...I liked to read and I gritted my teeth and crossed that trestle while my siblings waited for me impatiently.

Books were a precious commodity to me even then. We did not spend money on them because money was tight. If I was lucky, they were birthday or Christmas gifts. I had my books and I read them over and over and over. When my mother began to buy us the encyclopedias one volume at a time from points she earned buying groceries, I read those volumes as they came in the house every week. I even read the dictionary. 

Now I am a grandma, and one of my biggest 'happies' is to buy books for my grandchildren. Iris received packages containing Christmas books this season, and whenever I go, I have books in my suitcase. William and I shop for books regularly. It is one of 'our' activities. We've been reading chapter books since he was in kindergarten, and he could always follow the story line. I don't ever want my grandchildren to wish they had something to read, and so I am their 'Book Fairy', scattering books with a free and generous hand.  

Last week, William made a goal to read one hour and 15 minutes a day, up from his hour, and so to honor this request, Saturday we went to the store to take a quick look for books that he was interested to read. He picked out 'Dead Man in Indian Creek' and 'All The Lovely Bad Ones', Mary Downing Hahn is a new author for him, and the cover, combined with the description of the book on the back cover was tremendously exciting to him. 

He got started on Dead Man right away and has been reading it steadily. Last night, he went to bed to read before lights out. 

A half hour later, I passed by his door on the way to the bathroom to get myself ready for bed. I glanced in his door where he was sitting bolt upright in his bed holding his book. "Wait, wait!" he begged never taking his eyes from his page, "Don't turn off the light! I'm almost done!" It made me smile. 

Shortly, he came to the bathroom door. "That was so exciting!" and he launched into an animated retelling. 

From all appearances, the Book Fairy was just standing in front of the sink brushing her teeth in her flannel nightgown but inside she was leaping about, waving her magic wand, and shouting "ta-daaaaaaaaa!"


  1. My son loved to read but not write book reports, most of his teachers let him give an oral report in front of the class. He pulled friends from the class to act parts and put so much expression in his reports the other students looked forward to his reports. He made the books come alive in the class room. I am happy for William and for his book fairy. Dolly Parton has a program that she will send a child a free book every month. It is for all young kids.

  2. Well done, Book Fairy!!
    One of my four wasn't interested in reading until the dramatisations if the Sharpe books came on TV....and then we pointed out the parallels with our family history..
    The Rifleman's uniform being the basis of the first post men's uniform, the jacket and Shako hat of my great great grandfather.....

  3. I love a good book but can't read rubbish. I can start a book and get half way through and give it up, but if it's a good one I can't put it down. Tom on the other hand will keep ploughing on to the end even if it's not that good,
    I can never understand people who do not read books, there is so much pleasure in them.

  4. Those pesky squirrels didn't like television did they? My shelves are full of half read books.

  5. Digital books! One of the best things that has ever happened to me. I've never had a driver's license, and we've never been rich. But when I suddenly had access to the library via the iPad, I felt rich! I used to join book clubs just to be able to have books to read once in awhile, but that was never affordable for long, and then I was stuck with books I'd never read again. I am still thrilled every time I check out a book on the iPad. And they're all FREE, even the best-sellers.

  6. That's so nice. Neither of my two grandkids are readers, despite that fact the she was a very early reader.

  7. You are speaking my language here, Book Fairy. And well done, Grandma!

  8. Well you KNOW I loved this post! Well done spreading the magic of reading to your grandkids! You were lucky to have grown up without much television.

  9. What a wonderful post!!!! You are a super Nana, and a Book Fairy, for sure. -smile-


    Greetings from the "North Pole"!

  10. Wonderful post! I too am the Book Fairy and have already bought a number of books for my 7 month old grandson. I hope he's a reader like William! Of my two daughters, the older one is but the younger one prefers outdoor pursuits like hiking, skiing, snowboarding, mountain climbing, rock climbing, etc. She does read, but not as much as her sister. I am lost without several books to read.

  11. Fortunately our rural library relaxed the rules for my brother and I and allowed us to check out a grocery sack full of books instead of the normal limit of three. Unfortunately, that led us read all the books in the library, deemed fit for us anyway, by the time we were teenagers. Fortunately the neighboring county seat gave us complementary library cards and honored the paper grocery sack checkout limit for us.

    I'm a sucker for my kids and try to keep them in books. There is a spring used book sale (Pages For Pennies) kind of thing and they can always pick out as many books as they want. I have it on good faith that both have book sets from Santa this year as well.

  12. I got into trouble at junior school for reading. How ridiculous is that! I had been reading at break (it was raining outside) and was so engrossed I did not realise the teacher had started teaching again.

  13. I was an absolute bookwork and so was hugely surprised when 'Salina wasn't - it just didn't come to her as naturally as it did to me and got me to learn that people learn in different ways. It wasn't until she found the Pony Pals series that she would pick up a book intently for pleasure. Even now she will scroll her phone rather than read.

    Thank goodness Paris is a whole different kettle of fish - she reads and reads and reads voraciously!

    Your encyclopaedia story brought to mind an audiobook that she and I just finished (well, I finished - she can get pernickity and it does deal with death and some scary concepts and when the talk of running away got too dicey for her she chose not to finish it) - might be a bit too old for him, but Lenny's Book of Everything by Karen Foxlee will be one that you will definitely enjoy swimming in.

  14. I will show it to him. He's about a quarter of the way into All the Lovely Bad Ones and devouring that. They are reading a book at school called A Wild Robot, which has caught his ear, and so I ordered that from thrift books. Once he's through with that, I'll let him decide what he's reading next.

    Thank you for the suggestion, Jeanie!

    Margaret, when my son and daughter were expecting they were very firm. They did not want me going nuts, but they would step back and buy all the books that I wanted. I did. But then I needed to buy a bookshelf. And you need a comfortable chair for reading those books don't you...


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