Wednesday, September 08, 2010

PSA: Grab a pen and WRITE!

A couple of weeks ago, I was cleaning and organizing my kids' closets and came across several books that my dad had given to my children. He loved to give them books and thanks to him we have a wonderful collection of Children's Classics.

I held my breath a little and opened them one by one, hoping to discover a handwritten inscription inside each cover. No such luck. Every single one was blank inside. And I felt completely crushed. 

My dad gifted Will with several books about The Civil War (one of his great passions) and I would so love for Will to know why my dad chose those books for him. Sure, I can explain it to my son (and I plan to go back and write in each book) but it would have meant so much more for Will it it were written in my dad's hand--from my dad's heart.

I regret not asking him on the spot to jot a note and the date inside the cover every time a book was unwrapped! Because life is so short and you never know what tomorrow may hold.

Inscribing books makes them even more special! I'm so thankful that my mom did this for me growing up. Here are a few pics I took of some books that I treasure.

This book (below) was giving to me by some neighbors I had growing up. I still remember them! My girls love The Pooh Party Book and I love it's yellowed and worn pages. 

My long-time friend, Susan, gave me this book for my 9th birthday. I'm 100% sure that if she hadn't inscribed this book I would never have remembered that. This book was one of my childhood favorites. It contains three of Frances Hodgson Burnett's classics: A Little Princess, Little Lord Fauntleroy, and The Secret Garden and I bet I've read each of those stories more than a dozen times! 

The inscription below is from  Dr. Seuss: My Book About Me which I've blogged about here. (This book makes a great birthday gift for young children!

We moved to Colorado in the middle of the school year and Will's first-grade class gave him a copy of Max Lucado's You Are Special as a going away gift. I absolutely LOVE that every child signed this for him. It makes me smile (and sometimes cry) when I pull this book out to read from time to time. What a treasure!!!

Sometimes, there is a block like this on a book that makes it easy to inscribe it. I bought this book, The Pumpkin Patch Parable, while on a trip to Colorado Springs. I think I want to go back and write that I bought this for the kids at the Glen Eyrie bookstore! By the way, The Pumpkin Patch Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs is an awesome book for this time of year.

Did anyone else have this book of nursery rhymes? Looks like I got it when I was one year old. Amazing to think that book is almost as old as I am!

Consider this your Public Service Announcement. WRITE IN YOUR BOOKS! If you give a book as a gift, simply write who it's to, who it's from, the date and maybe the occasion. If it's special to you, write a little note about why and include that as well. If you receive a book that is special but is blank inside, then write your own note inside. I promise you will never regret it! 

My neighbor's mother-in-law takes this idea a step further. Not only does she inscribe books she gives as gifts but sometimes she'll adhere a photo to the inside cover that reminds her of the recipient. For example, if she gives a princess book to her grand-daughter, she might include a note AND a picture of her granddaughter in some fancy, Cinderella dress-up attire. It's just another way to make the gift even more special. Imagine what that little "princess" will be reminded of when she opens that book twenty years from now! 

So...go ahead. Grab your favorite pen and write in a book TODAY! 

18 comments: said...

Wow! I love this post and this reminder! I have many books which have been inscribed over the years and I adore remembering the reason they were gifted to me. I tend to NOT write in books that I give to others and I'm going to change that TODAY.
I love picking up books at estate sales and seeing handwritten notes in them. Just imagining the person who owned the book is fun.
Recently, Daniel (my boy) and I were at an estate sale and found a little old New Testament that a man in our church had inscribed to his friend back in 1967 when he accepted the Lord as his Savior. He was tickled pink that we had obtained the New Testament and turned around and re-inscribed it to Daniel. What a treasure!
Meredith, you never fail to encourage me with your thoughfulness and wisdom. Thank you.

Carpool Queen said...

My first grade teacher gave me a Bible and wrote the most wonderful words of encouragement in it - It's a treasured possession.

Sami said...

I absolutely love older books. I love when they are from family members because I think it's really neat to imagine them sitting and reading the same book so many years before. I hadn't really thought much about inscribing gifts but I will now! I actually just found a used copy of Robert E Lee's memoirs for my FIL. It's just begging for an inscription!

Michele said...

Thank you for sharing this. As a lover of books I am definitely going to start writing an inscription on the inside of the ones I give away. What a sweet idea!

Angie said...

Yes Ma'am!!! I'm going to go write in a book!

A good friend just gave me a new children's book but didn't write anything any it. I'm tempted to give it back and ask her to write me a note inside - even if it's just her name and the date.

Thanks for the great PSA.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

Wow! Great idea, Meredith.

I don't write in books lest the gift recipient wants to quietly return it or pass it on. But I'm sure there are times when I know it will be kept (such as books for my own kids).

And now that I think about it, my own kids love looking at my name inside my childhood books. "So that's how you wrote when you were 6, Mom?"

Great, great idea.

Michelle (LemonadeGal) said...

Great post!
I saw something the other day that made me smile. A woman in my Bible study opened her Bible and I saw a hand tracing on one of the extra pages. When I asked her about it she told me that she traced her child's hand when he accepted Christ as Savior. She then wrote his name and the date inside the hand.

His Girl said...

fantastic reminder! I need to look through some of my own books :)

Angela said...

Totally agree!! I LOVE inscriptions. The kids' grandmother is awesome about doing that for them, and I am so thankful. Awesome reminder. Hey when are you coming for that Hogs game?

Becky said...

I have mixed feelings about this topic. I like if it is from someone close to you...good friends, relatives. Or I will write in the info or ask them to if it is a special book to me. Love the idea of putting a picture kids books!

Don't mind it on the inside but my MIL has started writing on the cover of some books for the boys & it drives me crazy!!!

Elizabeth said...

I agree with you completely! If we're giving a book to an acquaintance I probably won't write in it, but typically when I give a book it's for very personal reasons and it's important to me to write a note in it. When books are given to my kids I almost always ask that they be written in, unless they're just a cheap book that we'll read and sell in a garage sale. But that rarely happens. Books are treasures to us, and I love having written proof of who gave them to us and when.

My mom let me take all of my Berenstein Bears books to my house and my 6-year old handwriting is cuter than I remember:) My kids love seeing it.

Lauren said...

This is such a sweet post, Meredith!!! :)

Amber said...

I adore the handwritten inscriptions in books. And I'm like you...I am so sad that some of the books that my kids received from their great-grandparents are handwriting-less. I'm writing in them, but I so wish they had my grandmothers' hadnwriting in them.

Dionna said...

What a great post and reminder to create a legacy for those we love.

Moriah @ Please Pass the Salt said...

I agree!!!

Nancy said...

yep. totally agree.

Kathy ... aka Nana said...

I've taken to giving a book in lieu of a birthday card and inscribe my birthday greetings inside the book. Cards, while I love getting them, are a waste of money, IMHO. Unless the giver has written a note that has special significance, we end up tossing them. But a book ... it lasts forever! I'm usually able to find a book that's fairly inexpensive so I don't spend my entire gift budget on the book (unless the book was the intended gift); I've bought gently used books or paperbacks if I need to keep the purchase within my budget.

Stacy at Exceedingly Mundane said...

I could not agree more! I sometimes write my own name in the books I want to keep (because I've loaned them to people before, and never had them returned, a pet peeve of mine). Sometimes I've asked my husband to write in the ones he gifts me (rare occasions, I buy most of my own books). And I cherish the ones I have from my grandmother, who wrote in all of the ones she gave me. I wish my mom had done the same, but she was one of the most un-sentimental people on the planet. I think that's why I am so very sentimental :) But she was wonderful about sending cards, and I have most every card she ever gave me in my lifetime... those help with missing her so :)

Great post Meredith!