We were thoughtful children, mainly.
When we staggered off under the weight of our thirty handpicked books-
–the first time, we heard the librarians decide on the spot what the book limit was for children–
-we washed our hands before we touched the pages.
(Although not until after my brother made his butter/peanut butter/honey/butter/peanut butter/honey sandwiches)
(And touched everything that wasn’t a book)
(We were careful with books)
We’d find some empty space somewhere and sprawl out, our books laid carefully around us.
We’d lick our fingers sometimes to make stubborn pages turn.
No matter how much we’d washed ahead of time, our fingers would always taste slightly of honey.
Of ink and honey.
There is a great mourning of the slow passage of paper books as we start to read more and more on our screens.
I disagree with this sadness.
As much as I can close my eyes and taste the stories of my childhood, I am eager, excited to see children and adults embrace reading in a way I could only have dreamed of as a small child with a limit of thirty books.
The package that carries the story is only a small part of that gateway to our imagination.
I dream of a day when those who could never have had the access that I did as a child are able to read all of the stories that opened the gateway to my imagination.
I dream of opportunities to share, to re-mix, to be parts of vital story-telling communities that grow with combined strength and enthusiasm.
I dream of ink and honey.
I dream of a thousand other pathways to the stories that I hear when I close my eyes.
Although I am not American, I’d like to wish you a Happy National Book Lovers Day. May your pages be filled with the dreams of your choosing.
I look forward to my own stories being shared in ways I could never have imagined. If you’d like to see the beginning of my series, my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, is available here.