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  • Kathleen Rice

Thank You, Dad


Recently, I came across a picture book titled “Be Nice to Spiders.” and I immediately I sat down and read it because I had owned a copy of it as a child. Holding it in my hands felt like I was greeting an old friend and we were sharing all our wonderful memories together.

So this got me thinking of how children learn to love books.

Growing up, my mother never read to me, but I don’t blame her because her parents never read to her. Had it not been for my father maybe I wouldn’t have read to my children (I shudder at the thought.)

My parents were divorced, so every other weekend my brother and I spent time at our dad’s apartment. After dinner we would sit on the sofa and he would read the Chronicles of Narnia to us. These books were probably picked out more for my brother’s sake than mine, as he was nine and I was only four at the time. Then my normally hyper active bother would promptly zonk out halfway through while I was wide eyed to the very end.

I also remember my father taking to me to the library for the first time. I thought I had walked into a truly magical place and it was with great reverence that I picked out a yellow hard covered book titled “Curious George” to take home with me.

For years he made sure I had a subscription to the magazine Highlights and even signed me up for the book of the month club. I was overcome with happiness every time a new book arrived. (It’s how I came to own the book “Be Nice to Spiders.”)

Then there were the extra special presents, like “Make Way for Ducklings” after a ride on the swan boats (we lived in Boston). And on a rare trip to the United Kingdom he bought me the “Paddington the Bear” series.

Growing up I read many of these titles multiple times. As I got older, I discovered new favorites on my own, using them like stepping stones to discover an endless supply of magical worlds created with words.

But I wonder if my father hadn’t instilled a love of books in me like he did, would I have missed out on these worlds? I wonder if my children would have missed out on me sharing the world of books with them. And now I have grandchildren and I see that love being passed on to them. I wonder if they would have missed out too.

So thank you dad .Thank you for all the wonderful memoires. You have influenced generations to come as your great-grandchildren may one day be reading “Be Nice to Spiders” to their children.

If there is someone in your life who has fostered your love of books, whoever it may be, a grandmother, neighbor, parent, teacher, or older sibling, please take a moment to thank them and what better way to do it then by sending them a beloved book.


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