Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Power of Books

A couple weeks ago, while the hubby and I were out and about town, I received a text message from my dad’s cell phone.  I wasn’t certain it was from him, as my mom will sometimes text me from his phone instead of her own, depending on which is handier at the moment. The text asked about a book:

The princess and the goblin. A book. Started to read in the second, maybe third grade. Never got to finish it, had to turn it back in to the bookmobile. Could never find it again. Have u ever heard of it?

The name sounded familiar, but I wasn’t certain.  A quick search on amazon brought up a Victorian fairy tale by George MacDonald.  It is available as a free Kindle book (The Princess and the Goblin). I texted the info back and within moments my phone started ringing.

Photo from

My dad, who recently celebrated his 59th birthday, told me that he had started reading this book when he was young – perhaps in first grade.  The bookmobile would visit the Catholic school he attended.  Either the nuns at school or his mother at home had given him a fear of returning a book late, so he returned the book without finishing it.  Being a young child, he didn’t realize that he could renew the book or request it so he could check it out again.  Fast forward over fifty years and he is still thinking about the story and wondering how it ends.

How amazing is that? 

In libraryland we often talk how important books are in a child’s life.  We are asked to find books that a patron read and loved as a child, but can no longer recall the title or author.  My dad’s story is just one example of how the written word can stick with a person throughout his life.  Dad told me that over the years he would think about this book from time to time, wishing he could read it to the end. 

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