On the third day of Christmas a messy snowstor
m reminded me of my childhood (the Blizzard of 1978 hit Boston on my fifth birthday) and naturally lead me to think about how important books were to me as a child- especially with a foot of snow outside! For families without a great deal of money, organizations like RIF (Reading is Fundamental), which give out free books to children, can be a crucial link in the chain of lifelong learning. The Art of Reading, published in 2005, is a collection of illustrations by renowned childrens'-book artists celebrating RIF's 40th anniversary. And it's just lovely.
It's printed in picture-book format- a large size hardcover featuring 40 artists with illustrations and their reminiscences about the importance of books and reading, and includes an index and artist biographies. Artists featured include David McPhail (author and illustrator of The Teddy Bear, which I just read to a class last week as a lesson on good deeds), Mary Azarian, David Wiesner and Paul O. Zelinsky.
I think the book is appropriate for the holiday season for several reasons. It's a beautiful volume with gorgeous artwork that would make a great gift for the childrens'-book-lover in your life, and it reminds us why we value books and reminds us to count our blessings and help those less fortunate. It also gives us a way to help- royalties from the book go directly to support RIF and its projects. You can click on the cover to buy it from your local Booksense-affiliated independent bookseller.