by Melissa Perry, Program Coordinator, Family Reading Partnership
No matter which holidays you celebrate this time of year; we all experience the same sense of anticipation and excitement, the same yearning for familiar traditions. An act that, if missed, makes the special day seem not quite complete.
The best traditions are those that bring families together. Sharing the same special story each year on the same special day is a simple tradition that evokes heart-warming images of snuggling up together in a cozy spot and reading a favorite story. Perhaps it is one you enjoyed as a child and are now able to share with your own little ones. Or maybe it is a book you and your children are discovering together for the first time. Regardless of which book you are reading, it is the act of reading together that is most important.
So, how do you choose just the right book for the occasion? Really, any book that is significant to the event will do. A book given as a gift to celebrate a child’s birth or adoption can be read each year on the child’s special day. A book about winter can be read after the first visit from Jack Frost, and books treasured by parents in their youth can be shared with their children when they reach that same particular age. The possibilities are endless.
To make your chosen books even more beloved, present them as gifts to your children. A book’s value and meaning increases tenfold when it is given as a beautifully wrapped gift. A fun way to surprise family members is to place wrapped books at the foot of the recipients’ beds. When they open their eyes the next morning, they will be delighted to discover a lovely gift awaiting them – ones that can be opened again and again. This tradition has come to be known as “A Book On Every Bed.”
Thousands of families across country have embraced this tradition of leaving wrapped books for loved ones to discover on a day that is meaningful to them, beginning the special day with a special gift. We invite you and your family to join the fun! For those of you with little ones, try giving gifts of books for them to find on their beds for them to open right away; not only will they see books as an important gift, but, it may also just keep them in bed a little longer that morning!
For more information about “A Book On Every Bed” please visit www.familyreading.org.
Filed under A Book On Every Bed, bedtime, book activites, children's books, classics, family, family book traditions, family reading, fathers, grandparents, holidays, love, peace and harmony, traditions, transitions, winter
There is something quite magical about reading one book with your family at the same time each year. I’m thinking of “The Night Before Christmas” by Clement C. Moore read each December when I was young by my mother or father. I have fuzzy memories of sitting on the sofa, leaning up against a parent, looking intently at the pictures and listening with comfort (and excitement!) to the story that I knew so well. I still have the worn copy my dad had when he was young, with the familiar illustrations. It was a peek into another world where men wore nightcaps to bed, mice slept soundly at night, and Santa’s sleigh really landed with a clatter on people’s roofs.
We have so few traditions in our hustle-bustle world–so little of any common culture in society today–it is heartening to think that we can, as parents, hand down this small gesture, the tradition of reading the same story each year, to our children. With this tradition we hand down the feeling of being part of a family and being included in a common family culture; we all know this same story.
A book reading tradition doesn’t have to be holiday-based. I have a friend who used to read “The Cat in the Hat Comes Back” by Dr. Seuss, each year at the first real snowfall and then went outside and made a snowperson with her children–that they colored with watered-down red food coloring of course! (You have to read the book to see the significance in that!)
A good book for creating a tradition is one that has a generous helping of wonder and that stays special because it is appropriate for just a certain occasion. Imagine reading the same adventure book each year on vacation or a keeping a birthday book to be read just around that day.
This time of year, you may want to read about the holidays you observe or the change to new weather. Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Muharram, Winter Solstice, or hot chocolate season, add a children’s storybook to your family’s traditions.
Amy Dickinson reading to her granddaughter Sahela
Once you have chosen a book, you can make it even more memorable by presenting it to your family as a gift. Family Reading Partnership and nationally syndicated columnist Amy Dickinson of “Ask Amy” have teamed together for the fourth year promoting “A Book On Every Bed.” The idea is that after you choose a new book for your family or choose a book for each child, you wrap it up and place it at the foot of your child’s bed one evening. Then in the morning, there is a special gift to unwrap and read together!
You can do this with a new book or a book you have read year after year. You can use a seasonal book or a book you know your child will enjoy based on his or her interests. Get adults in the family involved too and put a specially chosen book at the foot of every family member’s bed, young and old. Have a warm and wonderful December filled with happy family reading!
Filed under A Book On Every Bed, Amy Dickinson, family book traditions, family reading
Tagged as Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy, books, children, family, Family Reading Partnership, Katrina Morse, read-aloud, reading, traditions