Not long ago I used the book “!” by Amy Krouse Rosenthal in my training. I heard one young man talk explicitly about how he’d use it with his students. “I need this book tomorrow!” he joked with his group. Opening the book, I wrote an inscription and gifted him with my book (using several exclamation marks for effect).

He was surprised. “Why me?”

There’d been no drawing; no mention of a giveaway.

“Because you need it tomorrow.” I said.

People I know buy coffee for the person behind them in line. A friend with young kids had an anonymous person pick up their dinner tab. Inspired by these unexpected gestures, I began gifting books to random recipients. When I heard a fifth-grade teacher talking about her search for a new read aloud, I knew she needed Wonder by RJ Palacio. The Plot Chickens by Mary Jane and Herm Auch went to a fourth-grade teacher who said her students were struggling to keep their story lines simple and clear. Another colleague was chastised for being too positive (I know, can you imagine?) and I knew he needed Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea. My shelves ebb and flow as I find recipients for “just the right book.”

Garrison Keillor said, “A book is a gift you can open again and again.” I feel like a detective sleuthing for the next opportune time to gift the right book at the right time to the right person–when they most need it and least expect it.

One thought on “Unexpected

  1. What an inspiring story! I modeled “Making Words” for a first grade teacher today. She exclusively used a phonics workbook for instruction and didn’t see any other way to teach phonics. The teacher (and the children) loved the lesson, so I gave her my copy of PHONICS THEY USE. I was not nearly as generous as you were. I own multiple editions, and the one that I gave her was not the current edition. In the future, I will be on the lookout for gifting the right book at the right time.

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