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Books: A Life-Long Relationship

By Barbara HagenFebruary 13, 2022

Anyone who has ever picked up a picture book to read to a child knows the connection that can exists between a book and a child, even at such a young age. A favorite picture book is read and re-read dozens of times. The pictures within are scrutinized and the memorized words can roll off the child's tongue as if they were actually reading them. I would venture to say that besides family and friends, and of course a favorite stuffed animal, books may well be the first relationship a young child has with something. But it doesn't stop there.

A connection to books is something most children carry with them throughout their lives whether they realize it or not. That connection evolves as the child grows. In the pre-teen years books can help young ones learn self-awareness and empathy about other people in their lives. Books also open a world of adventure and spark creativity in other aspects of the young reader's life. During those often-tumultuous teenage years, books illuminate paths for how to manage through relationships, new and old, and just as important, how to develop a strong and healthy relationship with oneself.

To be fair, not every relationship with books is a positive one. I am personally living through the middle school and high school required reading lists that have a few books not quite suited for the tastes of my children, certainly books they would not have selected on their own. But that relationship is just as valuable as a chosen one, as it opens their eyes to new types of literature they may not have experienced on their own and hopefully, as they progress through the book, the essence of discovery overpowers the resistance to new characters, environments, and adventures.

As adults, we have a lifelong history with books which we carry with us. We rekindle our relationship with our childhood favorites through our own children or grandchildren, we continue a long-term love with favorite authors, and we may even get a bit giddy with excitement when discovering a debut author or take notice of a new sub-genre. Books are indeed a true love for so many of us, a life-long relationship we can always count on.

So this Valentine's Day, forget the flowers and the fancy dinners. Those are fleeting symbols of moments in time. Let's instead take the time to look through our shelfies, run our fingers along the spines, reminiscence of the past book loves we have enjoyed, take at peek at those to-be-discovered loves on the TBR shelf, and then settle down and immerse ourselves into the book we are currently reading. There is no more perfect holiday to celebrate book love and to #ShareBookLove. Happy Valentine's Day!

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Read more by Barbara Hagen

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