A few years ago, a friend gave me a nightgown for my birthday that was so large I wound up using it as an emergency parachute in case I ever had to jump out of my second-floor bedroom. Last Christmas, I received a pair of red socks from my cousin that were so small I wound up using them as ear warmers for my cat.
There is, however, one gift I enjoy receiving even when it doesn’t fit. Sometimes especially when it doesn’t fit. That gift is a book.
Getting a book that doesn’t “fit” can open up your world in ways you never imagined. “Why I never showed the slightest interest in Ancient Greece,” you think. “Why would someone give me a book about that?” Then you read it and are transported back to a world so amazing and compelling, you read three more books about it simply because you don’t want to leave. “Why would someone give me a book about a racehorse? I’ve rarely gone to the races and have no special interest in horses.” But then you read Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand and are hypnotized; swept away against your will by the evocative writing and astonishing story. Sometimes, I enjoy wandering through a library or bookstore and letting serendipity direct me to my next book. And if it’s the last thing I ever thought I’d read, odds are it’s going to be a fulfilling experience.
On my free website, www.MrsP.com, I sit in a cozy chair by the fire and read classic stories to kids. It’s one of my favorite ways to share the gift of reading. My website features a library with dozens of tales, from the hilarious to the scary. I encourage kids to not just choose the stories that immediately strike their fancy, but to give others a try too. For some reason, those often turn out to be the stories that stick with you – and even change your life.
Or course, I realize it’s not always easy to persuade kids to read anything if they haven’t developed a love and appreciation of books. To help with a student needing a bit of encouragement, I’ve created my Be-a-Famous Writer Contest.
That’s also why I have created my Be-a-Famous Writer Contest, so I students can see their story woven out of thin air from her or his imagination read aloud by a professional story teller, and illustrated by a professional illustrator! Yep, that’s just one of the prizes. I guarantee, that student will be a lot closer to understanding the power of books and the wonders of reading. The winners also have their classrooms filled with books in every format. These sponsors, all leaders in the education market, will be providing the prizes. And I’m not making up that story!