What I Owe to Books

I didn’t post yesterday because I was busy helping my son make a box for his Huckleberry Finn party at school today. I also made gingerbread for his whole class, because that is a food item mentioned in the book, Huckleberry Finn.* The box is actually a Valentine’s Day box, but his class skipped the official Valentine party, opting to combine it with their Huckleberry Finn experience. The boxes were to have themes, one of which was HF, but my son chose “Outer Space.” More specifically, “Zero Gravity in Outer Space,” and we were trying to get the box to levitate via magnets  and fishing line to simulate said zero gravity. In a nutshell, it was a pain in the neck and didn’t end up working.

However, the valentines themselves, which we also made, looked great. Each was a heart made out of card stock, with a little folded corner-bookmark stuck on the end, which I created from (slightly modified) directions in an origami book. As we worked together, I started thinking about all of the things that I’ve learned to do from books.

I don’t just mean textbooks, I mean regular novels and stories. For example, I can’t recall the title, but when I was little I read a book about a boy who made a flute out of a willow branch, and the story described how to do it. (You select a half inch or so thick branch, flexible but not too flexible, not brown but not green, cut it to about 6 inches long with a jack knife, pull out the core, cut a v-shape about an inch from the top, and drill a series of little holes down the front. Voila! You have a willow flute.)

Other things that I have learned from books include how to ride a horse, how to do calligraphy, how to carve soap, several magic tricks, how to knit and crochet, many card games, how to speak Spanish, Hardanger embroidery, how to make a sand candle and do plaster sand casting, how to take care of parakeets, how to rip a telephone book in half, two ways to do invisible writing and how to make it un-invisible, the safest way to climb a pine tree, how to bake a potato in the ground, how to tie knots, morse code, and how to “speak” the sign language alphabet. As well as all of the recipes I’ve made and music that I’ve played.

What are some things that you owe to books?

*Ten is rather young, in my opinion, to be reading Huckleberry Finn: Read my post: “Asynchronous Development in Book Selection”



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4 responses to “What I Owe to Books

  1. Good question!

    I’m not a great outdoors person, but I’ve read quite a few survival stories (Farley Mowat, Gary Paulsen…) – and I have a fair idea of how to survive in the wild. Hopefully I never have to test it out!! 🙂

    • That’s true, Jemi – From My Side of the Mountain, I know how to make flour from acorns and eat the roots of Queen Anne’s Lace – might come in handy some time! 😉

  2. I think books have helped me to better understand the human condition. Not that I totally get it, but it helps to see things from another’s perspective.

    I’ve also learned tons about my son’s different diagnoses. I’ve learned much about cooking. So many things. Neat post Layinda.

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