Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Valentines to cuddle up with

Ages ago, we decided to start a tradition of giving books to our grandchildren for Valentine's Day.
We looked around and although I'm a big fan of chocolate, we decided rather than shop for the latest sweet treat in a heart-shaped box, we would find a good book to give each one of them each year.
It would be a gift that stayed around and hopefully would give to the whole family as an addition to bedtime storytime and show them grandma and grandpa believe in books.
It seemed like a good idea in the beginning.
Now, 22 years and 30 grandchildren later, we're trying to keep it up.
It's a daunting task.
We not only have to try and stay within a reasonable budget but we try to match the personality and reading level of the particular grandchild with the book.
some of this year's haul
The good part is we really have to focus on each child's interests and abilities. The bad part is it's a brain breaker exercise to keep track of who has what and who needs what.
We usually head toward the classics that every family library ought to have: "Good Night, Moon" and "Where the Wild Things Are" and "The Secret Garden" and "Olivia" books.
We try to avoid the fluffy, gimmicky books but "Where's The Dragon" with the imprinted, hidden dragons was such a hit, we've bought another half dozen copies of "The Lost Unicorn" that has similar characteristics.
We have sometimes given a graphic novel, sometimes a copy of "The Diary of a Wimpy Kid." This year there's a Kindle Fire gift card in the mix.
Sometimes we hit the mark well and other times we probably miss.
It's really tricky to find the book with all the right elements: something we think is worthwhile that is also something the child will read.
That's our primary goal.
We want our grandchildren to develop a love for reading so even though it takes a dozen trips to the local bookseller and several journeys out onto the Internet before we have just the right book for everybody, we want to hang in there. (Then we saddle up the horses and drive around the state to make delivery.)
It's exhausting but ultimately very satisfying.
We think it's the best Valentine we can give them.

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