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Mom's Journal

Open a Book, Open a Heart

"Books are our friends," Miss Lorna said slowly and clearly to her preschool listeners. It was Day Three of my daughter Eva?s preschool experience.

The first few days of preschool had been successfully navigated by the children and to celebrate, parents had been invited to participate in a special "story time."

I sat on a preschool-sized chair behind the mass of 3- and 4-year-olds at Miss Lorna?s feet and listened as she prepared to unravel a story for them. Her opening words caught my attention. They had nothing to do with the book she was reading and yet everything to do with every book she would ever read.

With eyes wide for emphasis, she continued: "Boys and girls, we are always kind to books, aren?t we?" Nods all around. "We never tear their pages or scribble with crayon on their insides, do we?" The children shook their heads. "We always put it carefully back on a bookshelf once we?ve finished reading it, right?" Nods again. With the preamble completed, Miss Lorna opened The Very Hungry Caterpillar and read, to the rapt attention of her audience.

Through Eva and later with Ethan, I?ve be come a believer in the benefits of reading books. On summer afternoons, we?d spread a quilt in the back yard under a tree, drag out a pile of library books and fly off into an imaginary world. Winter mornings might find us ensconced in our blanket fort in the family room, picking up the next installment of a story from a chapter book. The imaginative, interactive and intimate tool of a book for mother-child bonding is irreplaceable. We moved past the preschool books to Going on a Bear Hunt, The Chronicles of Narnia and Island of the Blue Dolphins. Each book brought us an opportunity for talking and snuggling.

Paul underlined his high regard for books in 2 Timothy:4:13 where, in prison, he begged for his books to be brought to him: "When you come bring ? my scrolls, especially the parchments."

Looking back over those early reading years, I?m so grateful for the books that led my children into laptime before naptime, dream-weaving before sleep, and amazing adventures in what otherwise could have been boring afternoons. And I?m convinced that because my children learned the joy of reading books in their early years, they?ll be more interested in God?s Book for their lives in the years to come.

Truly, books are our friends. Pick one up and make a new friend for you and your child today.

Elisa Morgan is president of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International. Elisa lives in Colorado with her husband, Evan, and their two children. For information about a mops group in your area, call (800) 929-1287.

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