Today I was one of many volunteers helping children, second graders, to choose books from thousands. Each child could choose 12 books. These are children from families, many of whom cannot afford to buy books. Many of their mothers were there, proud that their children are bilingual and some can read in Spanish and English. There was an intensity to the love of learning and how that leads to advancement. I was astonished. These children understand what books mean to their future. Their teacher was amazing. As we helped the children, she helped the mothers find books to help them with their English. This space may once have been a gym, but now it is a Holy Place.
I am touched and inspired by these children, their families, and their love of books. I am also inspired by the maturity of these children, and by their manners. I was wearing a name tag but still I was surprised at how many shook my hand and thanked me by name. These children are going to be a force in the world.
One little boy came in wanting only two books, The Ugly Duckling and Jack and the Beanstalk. He arrived with those two books in mind and we could not tempt him with any other books even though the odds of those two books being there, and if they were there, being located, seemed infintesimal. One volunteer listened, walked away and came back with Jack and The Beanstalk. It seemed like a miracle. He said his father taught him the connection between intention and attention. He set his intention, and walked with attention, and found the book. Then, we found five copies of The Ugly Duckling. All five were chosen. One little girl wanted only science books. She was clear on that, and waited until we got to the science section to choose her books.
Again, I am astonished at the maturity of these children. They were so clear. How can we not nourish every child in this country, every adult, give them every opportunity possible? If everyone could spend some time as I did today, all arguments over immigration, walls, and fences would disappear. We humans are amazing. Let's honor each one, especially the young, and give them books, books, books. Each child walked out with a bag of books, and I'm happy to know that some of those books are probably being read right now.