-posted by Meghan
Every time Molly reads Where the Wild Things Are, she says “Bob and Ailene give this to you” as she opens the book. It’s one of her new favorite books, and it’s her latest book gift. It makes me smile every time she does it, and about half the time it turns into a conversation about them and how fun their visit to us last month was. She remembers the gift right now, because it’s so recent. And she’ll remember it in the future, since this book, and many of the kids’ other books that are gifts have been inscribed with the name and date of the giver.
One of my favorite books is a word book that I have from my own childhood. The book is a little Hallmark thing, cute, but nothing special. What makes it one of my favorite books is the inscription on the first page: “To Meghan on her first birthday, Love Grandma and Grandpa Shagoury, February 1975”. I would have absolutely no memory of that book or who it was from, but those simple words infuse it with a whole lifetime full of memories and meaning.
If it’s not a practice in your family , I’d suggest giving it a try. Inscribe your gift books to your children with a personal note, giving the date and reason for the gift (even just a simple, “This made me think of you…”). If you receive a book from someone else, once the gift is opened, consider asking them to at least sign the book for your child. It’ll give one more reason to treasure and love that book.
One tip: if you’re giving the book as a gift, don’t sign it till they open it! If they already have the book, they can’t return a signed duplicate. If they live far away and you won’t be seeing them soon to sign the book, check with the parent first, or think about getting some bookplates. You can write the note on the bookplate, and have them put it in the book once they open it! (You can design your own at www.bookplates.com, but my favorite collections are these cool Aubrey Beardsley ones and these beautiful ones of women reading.)