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The Gift of Reading

I love children’s books. One of my many favorites is called, The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein. It’s the story of a tree and a little boy she loved with all her heart. She gave the little boy a place to play when he was little and shade when he was tired. As he grew he wanted to make money and so she gave him the apples from her tree to sell hoping that that would make him happy. As an adult he wanted a house and the tree gave her branches so that he could have lumber. He grew older and wished a boat to sail away; the tree gave her trunk to make him happy. When he came back once more, she thought she had nothing left to give; but she did. He could sit on her stump as an old man and rest.

December is a time of giving. Depending on your tradition, it may be for any number of reasons. In the Christian tradition, the Magi brought gifts to the Christ Child and many give gifts on that basis. The more secular celebration of this holy day/holiday includes Santa Claus. Kwanzaa is celebrated by the African American community in recognition of the African harvest. In many families, small gifts are given in the seven day period from December 26 – January 1. Each of the days is centered on one of the seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. Each day is marked by the lighting of a candle in the kinara or candleholder. Hanukkah is celebrated by the Jewish community as the Festival of Lights. This celebration marks the rededication of the temple that had been desecrated. For eight days candles are lit in the menorah remembering the miracle of the oil lamp in the temple.

Residents of the Wyoming area were invited to give new children’s books or cash for the purchase of books for families with children in need. This project, “The Giving Tree”, was in partnership with the Chisago County Health and Human Service, a replica of what is done in Isanti County at the Cambridge Library. On December 17th, Heidi Neff, a Social Worker from Chisago County Health and Human Services, stopped to pick up books donated at the Giese Memorial Library of Wyoming. Rebecca Hostetler, Branch Librarian, said many people gave the gift of reading to children of families in need. Thirty-nine books were donated; $183.00 was collected for books to be purchased. Scout and Morgan Bookstore, an independent bookseller in Cambridge, offered a discount and thirty-three more books were purchased making a total of seventy-two books for children, infants through early teens. What a great response! Thanks to all who contributed! We’ll be doing it again next year!

Rebecca Hostetler
Wyoming Branch Librarian

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