It is hard to argue with a day as simple and good-spirited as Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, to be celebrated Saturday. It's really that easy. Take your kids to a bookstore, and let them bounce around, reading, exploring, and maybe taking some books home that jump out to them. If you don't have any children yourself, take your nieces and nephews, little cousins, tag along with your friends and their kids — just don't bring random kids off the street because that would be considered poor form.
Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day is about instilling the love of reading in people from a young age, so they'll value the bookstore and reading as they grow up and enter the adult world and community, hopefully spreading that love and respect through their network. And more specifically, it's about giving children that unique pleasure of being surrounded by the written word, with so much to explore, find, and see around them, as well as making connections with local booksellers, who (believe me) can be crucial resources as you dig through all of your options. (No matter what some popular culture may have you to believe about your local, small bookseller.)
Jenny Milchman, an author and creator of the Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, who began the day after being inspired by her own childrens' experiences at bookstores, describes what makes this holiday so vital:
Bookstores hold a place in the hearts and times of our community. They are places to discover an author, a story, a life. Nothing affords the conversation and interaction among books and book lovers that a bookstore does. In the future, whether you download your story or pluck a volume off a shelf, a bookstore will be able to accommodate. But in order for bookstores to flourish and thrive, we must expose future generations to the unique pleasures they offer. On December 6th, 2014, take a child in your life to a bookstore. Watch his face light up as you give him free access, not just to a new book, but to tomorrow.
This year marks the fifth annual Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day. The first celebration included 80 bookstores across the United States and Canada. In 2014, the celebration has massively expanded to 700 bookstores, in all 50 states, seven Canadian provinces, as well as in England, Australia, and Germany. If you want to know where you can take your little kiddos this year, the website has an interactive map showing you all the host bookstores.
And a little hint: You can see what books make their eyes light up and keep them on your list for presents from Santa Claus.
Image: Gustavo Devito/Flickr; Giphy