Random booking – for the love of reading 11

Yesterday, I finally did something I’ve been thinking about doing for a long time.  I gave a children’s book to a young girl and her mother while riding the bus. Her mother was young and wasn’t interacting with the little girl on the ride from Ashmont to Forest Hills Station.

She’ll be the first, I thought, glad that I had remember to stash a book in my bag.

How old is she?” I asked and smiled at the mother.

Two and a half, almost three,” she replied.

Oh, she’s so cute,” I said. And she was with her white beads jingling at the end of her neat braids.

Thank you,”  mother said and then went back to her nowhere stare.

I reached into my bag and pulled out a brightly-colored board book, “Whose Toes Are Those?” by Jabari Asim with illustrations by LeUyen Pham that featured two tiny, brown feet on the cover. 

May I give you this book for your daughter?”

Yes…why sure,” she said.

She passed the book to her daughter who squealed in delight, seized it with both hands and began to look at it and talk about the pictures.

The gift even made the mother crack a smile. She said thank you – as did her daughter. She didn’t read the book to her daughter on the bus but I felt good that I’d booked someone there by officially launching my quest to give books to at least one child a week while I’m on the bus or train (more if I’m able to pull it off). *

Call it random booking for the love of books by me who “might should” have been a librarian!

This is prompted by my love of reading, enjoyment of children’s books and the fact that I see so many young parents not talk to or interact positively with their children while riding the T.  The other day, one young mother had her hands full with a baby in the stroller and two little ones ages 4 and 6, I’m guessing.  She had her iPod in her ears and was reaidng a paperback with the word BITCH prominently in the title.  It took 3 or 4 yells before her six year old caught her attention.  The little girl was “reading” a Metro paper and wanted to show her mother something in it.   Mother would say, “Yes!” or “What???!!!” or “Leave me alone – damn” and then go back to her book.  I guess it was good she was reading but the scantily clad model on the cover and the word BITCH were not the best literature for the children to see.  Oh, well…

About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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11 thoughts on “Random booking – for the love of reading

  • Jim

    Wow! I love it…activism at the root…fantastic. That’s the best story of kindness/caring/change-making I’ve heard in quite a while.

  • miruspeg

    Oh Candelaria, what a wonderful idea and such a fantastic act of kindness.

    Back in October 2009 I was inspired by reading a blog called Kind Over Matter to make some cards in Scrapblog using my photos and adding interesting phrases and quotes. While out walking I left the cards along with a small book in places I felt appropriate, like a park bench.

    I felt these cards and books could create a ripple effect as this quote states:
    “Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” ~ Scott Adams

    Keep shining my friend.
    Peggy xxxx

  • Lilly

    Imagine if we all started doing this. I think its a wonderful idea. And I so agree with Peggy. The small ripples could create waves. Bravo to you. You just never know the impact you may ahve had.

  • Barbara

    I can’t tell you how many times I have wanted to do this! However I donated my stash of children’s books to a local elementary school teacher so I no longer have a supply on hand. It saddens me to see how many parents on the bus chatter away on cell phones while completely ignoring the child who is right in front of them obviously wanting some attention.

  • Jackie C

    That was very thoughtful Candelaria. I hope it sparked something in the little girl to love reading and own books. I also hope the mom read it to her later.

  • Candelaria

    I kept thinking about it and then just decided it was something I could do.  I, too, have donated many of the books I collected over the years.  What I’ve been doing is buying a few children’s books with every paycheck to give out.  We’ll see how it goes.
    Parents have a lot on their plate and I try not to judge too deeply when I see them not talking to their children but it bothers me especially when it’s someone I see regularly not engaging.
    This is one of my efforts to be a positive influence.