Do you remember the magic of your first book? The first book I ever bought with my own money was Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss. I scrounged up all my pennies, quarties and Kennedy half-dollars and bought it at Thrifty Westie’s in Portville, New York. It’s one of my most vivid memories as a reader. I read that book over and over, memorized stanzas of the bouncy language and slept with it under my pillow.

Give them books...give them wings

Give them books...give them wings

In Salon, Gary Kamiya wrote, “There are certain books that become a permanent part of your life, like an old tree that stands at the bend of a favorite path. You may not notice them, but if they were taken away, the world would be less mysterious, less friendly, less itself. …[I]t is a complete world. And like the old friend that it is, it always welcomes you back.”

Okay, so Yertle the Turtle isn’t War and Peace. Doesn’t matter. It’s the magic that matters. Owning a book gave me wings. That’s why I want every child ever born to have a book of her own. And I’m not alone. Here’s a way to knock out that “OMIGAWD I forgot to get something for Aunt Myrna!” feeling that strikes you as you rush out the door to a family gathering–make a donation to literacy in her honor, print out the acknowledgment and stick it in a pretty card. Here’s the perfect place to donate:

First Book provides new books to children in need addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books. An innovative leader in social enterprise, First Book has distributed more than 60 million free and low cost books to disadvantaged children. First Book now has offices in the U.S. and Canada.

And check it out on Charity Navigator–it gets its highest rating for efficient use of your donation. Do it. Do it now. Give a kid a book–it’s like giving her a set of wings. Trust me on this.