A Gift of Books

I know that I’ve posted this article before, but I post it every year either here or at my blog. I think it’s important, and I’d just like to remind everyone that books make great Christmas gifts. I promise you I’m giving books this Christmas. Anyway, here’s my article.

Besides being an author, I was a social studies teacher at our local high school. Some years before I retired, I noticed something very unusual going on in my first period class. I was standing in front of the class discussing feudalism with the kids, but three of the girls weren’t listening to me. Not that they always listened to me, mind you, but these girls weren’t talking. They weren’t passing notes, sleeping, or trying to do their homework before it was due. So, what were they doing? They were reading.

Yes, reading, and yes, it’s a very big deal. The majority of my students said they didn’t care for reading. They said it was boring. Almost, I don’t blame them. If I never read anything but textbooks, I’d think reading was boring too.

Okay, they don’t read. Is that a problem? You bet it is! Many literacy skills don’t get developed including reading comprehension, and let’s face it; people who read understand a whole lot more about what’s going on in the world. They score better on standardized tests too, and of course all of you readers know how reading can enrich your life. 

The girls were reading Twilight. I asked them if it was good, and you should have heard them carrying on. One of them told me she’d never read an entire book in her life until she started Twilight. She was almost finished with it and already had New Moon (sequel) ready to read. I was so intrigued I bought a copy of Twilight that very day.

I did like the book, but more importantly it impressed on me the need to provide young people with books they can enjoy, books that’ll make readers of them. So, this Christmas please consider a gift of books for any young adult or child on your list. In the long run it’ll be of more use to them than another sweater, video game, or electronic device.

Is anyone giving books this year?



About Elaine Cantrell

Elaine Cantrell was born and raised in South Carolina. She has a Master’s Degree in Personnel Services from Clemson University and is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary sorority for women educators. She is also a member of Romance Writers of America. Her first novel A New Leaf was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love Contest and was published in 2004 by Oak Tree Press. When she isn't writing you can find Elaine playing with her dog or maybe collecting more vintage Christmas ornaments
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7 Responses to A Gift of Books

  1. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I’m always giving books as gifts! My grandkids and great-grands usually have a few titles or areas of interest on their Christmas list, so I head to the local bookstore and load up. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Elaine!


  2. Jeff Salter says:

    As a lifelong reader myself, having WRITTEN for most of my decades, having jobs that focused on writing / reading, having had a 30 year career in librarianship, and having co-written a book on literacy — I heartily endorse your sentiments here.
    My early appreciation of books was engendered by my parents. My reading (and writing) was later encouraged by various teachers.
    I’ve known many people who don’t / won’t read anything beyond what they have to in order to function. A good friend once (proudly) told me that he’d never read a book. I could only feel pity.


    • Elaine Cantrell says:

      It is a pity! I had a friend who told me just about the same thing that yours did. They’ll never know what they’re missing.


  3. I used to give books all the time and always to young people.This year, however, with all that has been going on with me, everyone is getting the most impersonal gift I can think of, but the most useful one, especially to the second and third grandchildren, who are just now working and driving. The first one has gotten his early to help with what he wanted to get, and we will pay throughout the year for a gaming subscription, as we have for years.THIS set of games that he plays leads to book-reading, those that expand the storylines that he plays, so in a round-about way,I am encouraging him in continuing to read.


  4. Elaine Cantrell says:

    Whatever it takes to encourage reading, right?


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