I love books. I taught for over 25 years in both early childhood and elementary educational settings and shared many books. Having 4 year olds chant Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel as I read the story was special. Or in second and third grade, reading Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and thinking you can really smell the chocolate and then giving chocolate bars that all have a hidden golden ticket. Magical! When reading The Magic Bicycle by John Bibee, students sat spellbound and wished their bikes could fly. I read Caldecott and Newbery winners. My classroom was filled with books organized by genre and author. Students were excited to read the Boxcar children stories or the next Lemony Snicket adventure. I couldn’t wait to read the Caldecott winners each year and then introduce them to my students. For reading, students read such classics as Song and Dance Man by Karen Ackerman with those delightful award-winning pictures of Stephen Gammell, Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White, Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater and Florence Atwater and My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett. It was great using those wonderful tie-ins when Walter’s Art Gallery in Baltimore had an exhibition of Jean de Brunhoff’s Babar books or The State Museum in Columbia, South Carolina had a delightful traveling exhibition of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit and friends.
When I was a librarian I would hold contests based on books: A-Z included pictures of main characters from easy books that started with a different letter of the alphabet; Object contest – which book had this list? etc. and many more. I was always finding ways to present books to the students.
I now teach high school at a classical tutorial and we read books! Great books like Genesis, Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Erasmus’ The Praise of Folly, Barzun’s The Dawn of Decadence; selections from Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, Aquinas’ Summa Theologica; short stories by Flannery O’Connor; essays by G. K Chesterton and C. S. Lewis; and many others. I share great authors I have read and let them share their favorites.
In a culture permeated with sound bites, social media and technological gadgets people have questioned the future of books. I use social media, have a smart phone, a Kindle and just got an iPad for my birthday. I wasn’t sure about ebooks at first but when I started seeing the number of books that were available free I became interested. I still love the feel of a book in my hand, and though the devices have means of taking notes I miss my pencil markings. I also miss being able to share my books with friends or having a book sitting out when others visit and striking up a conversation about it. The format that the books are delivered has changed, or maybe a better way to say it, is it has expanded. Google’s believes it will take them 10 years to digitize all books and in 2010 they estimated that there are 130 million unique books in the world. Physical books are still here and will be for some time.
Here is a delightful video that explains what a book is. I have read Lane Smith’s It’s a Book and find it ironic that a video is being used to explain a book. Enjoy and share a book with someone this week!