The Joy of Turning Real Pages
Don’t get me wrong. I love my tablets, eBooks, and audio volumes. But nothing brings me greater pleasure than the printed page and the feel of a well-designed cover in my hands.
I was fascinated by books as a child, longing for the day I could make sense of those magical symbols, the alphabet! I thrilled to the stories my mother and siblings read to me, from Little Golden Books to the stories of Charles Dickens.
I was particularly enamoured by the Walt Disney edition of The Swiss Family Robinson. Loaned or given to my brother, he was none too happy that I had scribbled my name all over the inside cover. That volume became the seed of my children’s library.
Over time, the bulk of my collection centered around my passionate love for books about horses. Walter Farley’s stories, including the delightful Little Black – A Pony and his Black Stallion and Island Stallion series, filled my dreams. One of my favorite Christmas gifts to this day remains Farley’s The Horse Tamer.
Those books were eventually boxed and stored away until I started teaching. They were unpacked and restored to their rightful shelves, delighting many students over the years. I grew my library from bookstores, yard sales, mail order book clubs, and through Scholastic’s wonderful school book program.
Years passed, and I married and had a child of my own. So my library came back home, where our daughter consumed them throughout her childhood. My delight in seeing her learn to read those old books was made even more priceless by her profound hearing loss. As devastated as I was by her diagnosis, I told myself that if she could learn to read, the world would be hers for the taking. And read she did, voraciously reaching for the stars through the written and spoken word.
She’s grown now, and like me, often has her nose in a reading app on her phone or laptop. But I’m delighted by the stacks of books she brings home from the public library and her love for the printed page. There’s still something magical about a well-loved, corner-turned book, magazine, or her favorite, collections of classic comic books.
So take heart. One James Thaddeus Kirk, a star ship captain, will insist on holding real books centuries from now. He may be a television and movie character, but he’s got the right idea. So every now and then, step away from the electronic devices. Pick up a book and go where you’ve never gone before.
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