We really enjoyed celebrating International Book Giving Day, which happens to be the same day as Valentine’s Day. We started out by selecting a pile a gently used books from our shelf to donate to a school for orphans here in Malawi that is doing amazing things. One of their students recently flew to England to be honored by the Queen for his essay that won the 2012 Royal Commonwealth Essay Competition. He wrote a touching essay entitled, “The Day I Wore My Best Clothes.” In my original post about International Book Giving Day, I wrote about the scarcity of books here and the fact that reading for pleasure is a luxury that the majority of Malawians cannot afford so I was very excited to find out that the school we are donating to is about to open a community library in addition to their school library and that they are always looking for books. We plan to make ongoing donations whenever we can and feel confident that our old favorites will be enjoyed by many, many children.
I also wanted to celebrate by giving a special book to my girls and so I ordered a personalized book for them that my mom shipped from the States a few weeks ago. I was really hoping it would arrive in time, but we are still waiting. Instead I decided to help the girls make homemade books to gift to each other.
They were really simple made out of paper, cardboard and a pipe cleaner but they were from the heart.
I asked each of my girls to tell me four things they liked about their sister and wrote what they came up with on the pages. The girls then illustrated them and I bound them together with the pipe cleaner. Kooks’s book to Boo read, “I like it when you play baby with me, I like to hug you, I like to eat birthday cake with you, and I like to do school with you.” Boo’s book to Kooks read, “I like to paint with you, I love to play blocks with you, I like to do coloring with you, and I love to play on my computer with you.”
They loved their books and spent a lot of the day reading them and asking each other to clarify the drawings in them. It was so touching to see them “reading” together and appreciating something the other had created. When I really look at the way my girls play I have to admit that more often than not they interact lovingly with each other but there are definitely days where it feels like all I do is referee fights and it is easy to focus on that and overlook the positive interactions. These books were just as much a reminder to me that they do in fact love each other as it was a special gift from one sister to another.