Frederic Leighton - Study at a Reading Desk, 1877
Books! I don't know if I have ever told you, but books are the greatest gift one person can give another. - Paul David Hewson, known by his stage name as Bono
A few weeks ago I met a colleague who had no idea what to give her twelve years old daughter for her birthday. She said her daughter had "everything" and did not want anything at all. She spent few hours in a large mall looking for a gift and worried that her daughter might not even like what she bought her.
How about a book? I thought. I did not ask my colleague whether she considered buying a book. I figured out that books were not on her shopping list because if they were she would not worry so much. Every month new books are published and readers of all ages can find something that will grasp their attention and offer unforgettable moments of mystery or adventure, knowledge or profound wisdom, consolation, joy or a quiet reflection.
Portrait of a Woman (1881) by Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoi (1837–1887)
For as long as books are published in print they make the best gift you can give your children, but you have to start early. If you teach your children to read the printed word they will forever be grateful to you. And you will never have to worry that you disappoint your child when all he wanted was a pair of new snickers.
Even though books have price tags, they often are priceless. They are priceless, but we seem to have forgotten that. In our fast-paced, highly digitized world reading a printed word is a dying habit. Maybe we should reconsider our choices. A little less mind-numbing television and a little bit more of mind-expanding literature would be a good beginning. And if there is no tradition of reading in your home, create one. Spend more time reading yourself. Read to others. And of course, give the best gift ever: instill love of reading. Buy a book.