Life, Love and Little Free Libraries

I feel such joy when I see books on shelves — at libraries, at schools and at book stores. They feel like endless stacks of hope and potential and adventure, just waiting to be picked and opened and enjoyed.

But here at home, where my boys' old books line miles of shelves in their rooms, their closets and family rec room, it pains me — this sometimes emotional and sentimental mom. It's a daily reminder that they are growing up. 

It's unlikely my almost-17-year-old will decide to pick up Magic Treehouse or Percy Jackson or 39 Clues or Because of Winn Dixie again, but I can remember — I can see — him, full of excitement and wonder, experiencing those stories for the first time. Sometimes, more often than I'd like as college looms near, the memories create a nearly unbearable tightness in my chest.

My 12-year-old has slowly worked his way through every Diary of a Wimpy KidBig NateCaptain Underpants. The echos of his giggles still resonate for me. And then I see him surprisingly touched by Bud, Not Buddy and Wonder and Ungifted — my tough boy, softened by stories that touched his heart. And, again, it's unlikely that he'll decide to read those books again. He's moved on to other stories, other adventures.

And I know that this is as it should be. 

But, sometimes, as I'm hanging up their shirts or gathering up their laundry, I find myself running an index finger along the spines — remembering. And, I'm sad.

It occurs to me, this mom who personifies everything, from stuffed animals to construction trucks, that these books might feel sad, too: stowed away on shelves, forgotten. All of those stories trapped inside. Those poor books sit, tucked away — dusted, but never opened. Perhaps someday I'll have grandchildren, and I'll read to them. 


And so, for the sake of this sad mom and those sad books, I've decided that our collection should be free to fly into other young hands, to fill the hearts and minds of other young souls. And, if I must brag — it's an awesome collection, made better all the time by the books I receive as gifts from authors and publishers, books I receive by the armloads at conferences and festivals.

This is my Little Free Library. I wanted it to be beautiful, just like the books inside and just like the kids who will find them.

On top, the weathervane that I had made — a book morphing into a butterfly — reads, "SOAR WITH A BOOK" on the spine. That pretty much sums it up for me.

Now, our books are, indeed, flying away — slowly, but surely — into other hands and other houses.

And this makes me very happy. 

Because I know that this, too, is as it should be.