heard through a parent while lounging around the book fair in school.
“mom,” a boy excitedly points out, “here’s a great book about dinosaurs! it has all the right pictures!”
he was pointing to book almost an inch thick.
“you know what else, mom? it costs just 800 pesos (approx USD 20). can we get it?”
the mother looked at the book, looked at his son, and said, “no.”
i can only imagine the devastated look that fell upon this boy’s face.
i believe that children’s access to good books should not be limited. which was what i remember growing up. i remember asking my mother for a book and getting it almost all the time. i remember that once i saved up enough of my allowance, i can browse the bookstore and get a book that looks interesting. i remember that when i couldn’t afford a book, i would be told to go to the library.
consequently, the room i grew up in was filled with many books. some were actually disintegrating from too much handling.
i see the love of books in my children. they can devour one novel after another (and my elder kids are just 5 and 7 years old). they seem to be in a competition with each other to borrow as many library books as they can. i hear them speak with each other, using language that definitely came from a well-written book.
as a result of their reading, they are always curious about the things around them, intrigued by the worlds described in their reading. it is a amazing thing, seeing your children change from depending on you for information, to discovering things on their own, asking you to join them in their journey.
i see them pick up a book we had bought a long time ago, something they had chosen because of a colourful cover, but had not read because the text was beyond their comprehension — the pages suddenly flying through their fingers with their enjoyment of it now. their eyes glow when they read. their minds are active, curious, and fearlessly exploring. it’s an amazing sight.
we cannot know the circumstances of this mother who denied her child this dinosaur book. for all we know, they may be facing hard times.
but when a child asks for access to information and knowledge, a denial of it is the absolute worst response.
“no, son, we cannot buy this book now,” you may say instead. “how about a trip to the library?”