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  • Writer's pictureBenay Hicks

Sixteen adults, sixteen children’s books, boundless joy

by Ginger Young, Executive Director

It is a regular and cherished benefit of my job to see kids experiencing joy when they find their new favorite book.

Yesterday was a glorious day because I witnessed that same joy in adults — at the annual Book Harvest board retreat.

Our board of directors is a hardworking, dedicated bunch – and we thank them for their service every year with a token of appreciation. This year, with social distancing necessitating that we conduct this important gathering by Zoom, we asked every board member prior to the meeting for the name of a children’s book that has had an enduring impact on them. Then we had the titles they selected delivered, giftwrapped, to them at home. Together, our 16 board members unwrapped their gifts at the start of our retreat – each discovering a beloved favorite title.

The JOY in that moment of reveal transcended screens and separation. We were, together, feeling the joy of each greeting an old friend and having the chance to share that friend with our board colleagues. We then gathered in groups of four to share with each other a bit about our chosen books and why they held significance for us.

The conversations were stirring, the connections to the books unforgettable. In my group, I teared up as a board member described her book’s effect on her when she read it in fifth grade: “This was the first time I realized the power of fictional characters and circumstances…..I understood then the power of stories to open and sometimes break your heart.”

What children’s book holds significance for you? Drop me an email and let me know!

Here are the children’s books that our board members identified as having a profound influence on them:

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken

Old Yeller by Fred Gipson

Very Special Friends by Jane Chapman

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Bud Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

The Poky Little Puppy by by Janette Sebring Lowrey and Gustaf Tenggren

The Paper Kingdom by Helena Ku Rhee

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit

Oh, The Places You’ll Go! By Dr. Seuss

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner


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