A Buffet of Books

Dear Marshall,

When you were very young, we kept all of your books on a shelf in your room. We wanted them to be close at hand for spontaneous reading. After you learned to stand, you were able to reach them yourself and, as we had hoped, you started bringing the books to us to be read.

Then you developed a fondness for tearing paper pages and dust jackets. “Fine,” we said. “We’ll just let him keep the board books for now. Those are durable.”

Not durable enough. You bent pages, broke spines, even tore some of the books in half. We doggedly stuck to the idea that your books should be available to you. We didn’t want you to think of them as being off limits in any way. After all, a few destroyed books are a small price to pay for a lifelong love of reading.

But then came the day when you learned to separate the pictures from the boards. Suddenly Dr. Seuss’s ABC was missing pictures for A and B. No big deal. Twenty-four letters are still better than none, right? Except that we found A and B in your mouth, where you had chewed them into gross, wet wads. We had wanted you to be a bookworm, but not in the literal sense! Did we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar to you too many times?

So we had to take the rest of your books away. Sorry. You can have them back when you learn the difference between food and food for thought.



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