by Laura Sassi
Every year at Thanksgiving, when all the relatives are gathered around the table ready to eat, my husband pulls out one of his favorite books. Printed in 1858 in New York, it’s a worn, but still beautiful, old, leather bound copy of The Book of Psalms. As a US historian with a focus on religion in America, it’s no surprise he treasures it. He purchased it many years ago in the little “attic sale” corner of my grandmother’s retirement community. Not only is it a beautiful artifact from the past that reminds us of my grandmother, it also contains familiar and wonderful words that are loved by our family.
That book - and my husband’s joy in sharing it with us each year - reminds me of the richness books add to our lives - shaping us as we grow, helping us through tough times, sparking special memories, offering joy and laughter and more. With that in mind, maybe it’s time this weekend to give a little thanks - book style!
We’ll be doing this as family - and all ages can participate. And here are three examples that stand out in our family:
We are thankful for the way E.B White’s Charlotte’s Web helped my then eight year old daughter process her sadness at her grandmother’s passing.
We are thankful for the way Amy Krause Rosenthal’s COOKIES: Bite-Sized Lessons led to such great conversations about living kindly and to lots of cookie baking!
My son remembers fondly the joy of reading every single Hardy Boys book - several times! He loved them so much, that just like his daddy, he sometimes perused old book shops with him seeking old treasures like this 1942 edition of The Clue of the Broken Blade.
Want to “Give Thanks, BOOK STYLE!” with your family? Here’s how it works:
Gather: Ahead of time, let your family and friend know that as part of the Thanksgiving festivities, you will be sharing a book that you’ve been thankful for. If possible, they should bring it.
Share: At a designated time, perhaps after the main course and before you serve up the pumpkin pie, let each person who would like share their book.
If they need help structuring their thoughts, it might go something like this:
This is name of book and I am thankful for it because ______________. (Possible reasons could include: it made me laugh, it reminded me of _________, it taught me that __________, it helped me when I was feeling _________ etc. )
Then, if you want, each person can share a favorite page or passage from the book.
Celebrate: When everyone is done, celebrate the blessings of books with dessert!