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An Adoration for Books

March 7, 2010

“Readers Reflect,” is a weekly post by a guest blogger reflecting on a formative book, character, or reading experience that has been particularly meaningful in their life as a reader. To submit your own “Readers Reflect” essay, please contact us at courtskids@gmail.com

Here’s how I know I love books. Not just love. Adore. I have moved across the United States several times and each move I follow the same routine: buy moving boxes, gently and gingerly fill them with my books, and then pay exorbitant amounts of money to have them come with me. I am one of those people who hesitates to lend people my books, carefully writing my name on the inside cover in pencil. I rave about my favorite book and buy it for everyone on their birthday. I’m a book-aholic, you might say.

This love…or adoration, rather, for books started at an early age. I can remember my mother reading to me in bed before tucking me in. First simple books with beautiful pictures like The Tale of Peter Rabbit. And, as I got older, my bedroom floor quickly was littered with Richard Scarry books and other favorites like Miss Nelson is Missing and Frog and Toad are Friends . Chapter books brought a whole new world of reading to my fingertips- allowing me to tuck up in my room or in a corner and read for hours. Whether it be Charlotte’s Web or The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe- I could spend hours inside, curled up with a book. The books I remember loving most were full of adventure and young heroines. Ramona Quimby made being someones sister more tolerable. Misty of Chincoteague fed my budding obsession with horses. Little House on the Prairie fueled dreams of our family moving ‘out west’ and exploring the vast plains. When RIF (Reading is Fundamental) days were scheduled for our library, I’d make lists of books to select. Many of these books I still have and cherish today as an adult.

Looking back, books have always been there with me through changes in my life. When I was 10 and my parents were separating, I had a book in my overnight bag so that no matter where I was I had a piece of home. As a teenager, books by Judy Blume allowed me to survive the trials and tribulations of freshman year and know I was not alone in my experience. And even as a young adult, I would always read before going to bed. To escape. To center myself. And to keep my creativity muscles in shape.

And so, I anticipate, in a lifetime with many moves ahead of me…that box of books will continue to follow me wherever I go. It’s one of the greatest gifts my mother ever gave me, actually. To share that time together reading but also to learn how to pass that gift on- through gifting books to others or reading with a child. Never underestimate the power of a book.

Jacqueline Boas lives in Boston, with her boyfriend, dog and hundreds of cherished books. She runs a charitable foundation that provides support to improve access to health care and educational opportunities to communities in need.

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