That’s what the Book Trust say and I’ll second it! When I think of the wonderful places I’ve been…Narnia, Hogwarts, on a roof in Paris, back in time, forward in time, in space, to the moon. Okay it was all inside my head but it was real at that moment because a book demands that you use all of your attention, so you really do travel to all of these places. That’s why I love books SO much.
Three of the best presents I’ve ever had were things to read.
‘Me and the Yellow Eyed Monster’ is one of the first pieces of book magic I can remember. A book where my name had been inserted throughout the story. I got this book when I was about five and I really thought the book had been written for me!
A Memory Book from my sister which was just a pretty notebook in which she’d written lots of things we’d done together and glued in some photos of us through the years too. This was a lovely little trip down memory lane for me and a really fantastic present.
A little box of love. A tiny glittery box filled with paper heart shapes my niece had cut out and nice things that she thought about our relationship written on them. I think this is my favourite of all! The hearts strung together make the story of all the things my niece and me had been up to over the years and I’ll admit to shedding a few tears, in a good way! Whenever I feel glum I look at it and remember that we are all a story being written and every day is a clean page.
There are also lots of things you can make out of books. Now I get a bit EEK when people go about ripping up books for things but sometimes books just fall apart or get damaged. Occasionally my dog decides he wants to have a good read and then realises he can’t so he just chews through books instead (Note to self – get higher bookshelves). Instead of throwing them in the recycling bin in future I’m going to make things with them. You can use PVA glue to cover old baubles with words or make snowflakes to hang in your window from them. And if you don’t have any broken books then why not follow Book Trust’s suggestion of leaving your favourite story out for Santa so he can have a read while he eats his mince pie!
And here’s a challenge for you! Instead of just buying a present, which anyone can do, why not write your own story that will take someone somewhere! Imagine all the places you could take a friend or family member with your imagination! Words can take you absolutely anywhere and believe me when I say it will be a present they will treasure forever.
If you are stuck for inspiration why not have a look at the Book Trust’s Advent Calendar to get some ideas. You might even find a few books you would like to add to your Christmas list.
Without giving away too many of their suggestions you could be out and about in the snowbound woods of Russia if you choose to read ‘The Wolf Wilder’ by Katherine Rundell.
Or locked in a tale of adventure, snow, kidnapping and elves with Matt Haig’s ‘A Boy Called Christmas’.
Or if you fancy getting away from it all and you’d like to take a trip to a summery island then their December the 6th Advent Calendar choice was my book ‘Elen’s Island’ and I’ve been doing happy dances ever since!
Book Trust Head of Digital Sharon Fried-Jones recommends Elen’s Island because: ‘This book is magical! It’s evocative of the wild beauty of Wales and has the feel of classic British children’s literature – Aberglad is like a Welsh Kirrin Island, and the result of Elen and Rowan’s treasure hunt is a heartwarming message about the enduring power of family and love.’
And whatever you do this festive season remember that you are a story and your words can take you wherever you want them to! Happy travelling!