A great book is one that enriches your life far beyond the time you spend reading it. It comes off the page and becomes the inspiration for action in real-life. It motivates you to learn new skills or try new adventures. It dares you to be a better person than you were before. OR it can simply show you how to more deeply love and treasure things you might have thought ordinary before.
This post was inspired by my second grader. We are reading The Secret Garden together for her first time. And – just like me when I read it as a girl – she wants a gardening set. The book is planting seeds – figuratively and literally speaking – by encouraging a desire to nurture plants and watch them grow.
Books themselves are my favorite items to give (and receive). If you are considering a book as a gift, these make wonderful choices because, not only are they treasures by themselves, but they do inspire real-life skills, adventure, and character. You might want to consider adding another small gift along with it to help your reader bring the story to life for them.
The Secret Garden by F. H. Burnett
This book did so much more for me than just make me love the smell of dirt. It inspired me to read and learn everything I could about gardening. And, at age nine, when my mom was too busy for our small family vegetable garden one year, I asked to take it on. That spring it taught me about hard work, patience, perseverance, and overcoming obstacles. Not to mention it taught the practical skills like planning, tending, and harvesting a garden. Now I see it having the same effect on my own daughter! A gardening set makes the perfect gift to go with this sweet book.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Jo March, a character modeled about the author, wants to write – and pursues that passion doggedly and despite great obstacles. Reading Little Women as a girl is, without a doubt, one of the reasons I pursue writing today. Journals and pens are a great gift to go with this book. A fabulous idea to get them started writing is by sharing a parent/child journal. You can write sweet notes, secret hopes, or dreams for the future and pass it back and forth to each other. When they’re full, they become treasured keepsakes.
Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
I think there are no better books for inspiring practical homemaking skills like cooking and sewing than these. I cannot read Farmer Boy without wanting to go cook everything in my kitchen – from scratch! These people seriously put my busy life to shame with the effort it took just to keep their households rolling. There are companion books intended specially to help kids get hands-on with the cooking, sewing, and crafting from the stories. My six-year-old very much wants to learn to sew and simple projects from these books make the perfect first lessons.
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
Plus I will add to this book, any of her other works as well. And she’s got lots of ’em! Her works rank among the very top of my all-time-favorite list. And it’s not so much for “practical” skills they’ve inspired as it is for the happiness, contentment, and character they’ve born in me. Sometimes we don’t think about appreciating the everyday things in our lives, like how wonderful the place we call home can be, or the power of a dear friendship. Ms. Montgomery’s writings taught me a deep sense who I am, where I’m from, and what I value.
They are great books for inspiring character traits such as kindness, determination, devotion, and how to be a true friend. Another thing I’ve been teaching my older girl in our spare time is how to make friendship bracelets. I was beyond thrilled to find this kit that is so much better than using a clipboard or safety pinning it to your pants leg like when I was a girl!
Each of these books was influential in my life because it translated into my reality. They were books that made me want to do and be. And that is what makes them priceless treasures to share with my own girls. And because I know the real value in them is what they did for me after I finished the last page – I am using them to guide my gift choices for my girls.
It’s a great way to grow their skills and character and show them that reading is far more than just stories on a page.