I have the cutest nieces in the world. (I would know. I’m their aunt.) The twins are six weeks old and their big sister Lydia is a year and a half. I was thrilled to host them and their parents, along with my cousin, her husband, and their three month old, recently for an extended weekend surrounding my brother’s wedding. We had a houseful. It was messy and loud and a little chaotic. But it was family. So it was pretty great.
One morning, when Lydia was looking for some fun, I asked her if she wanted to read a story. She grinned and nodded. She’s not talking much yet, but she understands a lot and can communicate quite expertly with her own invented words and hand signals.
She went straight for the basket of books on my living room floor. I don’t have children so don’t have much in the way of toys, but I knew I wanted to be well-stocked in books for the weekend. I bought and borrowed a selection of board books, including the new Frolic board books from Sparkhouse Family where I work as a development editor.
I was thrilled when Lydia brought me three books to read, including two Frolic books! She snuggled in next to me as I held one of her sisters, to read God Made Us All. We learned the differences between big and little with Jo the goat and Uri the dove. I asked Lydia to point to the different body parts mentioned in the book as we read. She pointed to her eyes, nose, and feet happily. We read God Finds Us and she enjoyed looking for the animals who were hiding on each spread. She was especially excited to see Rufus the dog, because she loves dogs. She made bowowow sounds every time she saw him.
The next day, when she was having a meltdown while her parents were out (and I was burning the brats on the grill while I tried to entertain her inside), nothing would console her until I offered to read with her on the couch. With her blankie in one arm, a stuffed moose in the other, and her nookie in her mouth, she snuggled into my lap as we read Annie and the Wild Animals by Jan Brett (again) and the Frolic books (again).
There’s nothing sweeter than reading a story with a child on your lap. I didn’t even care anymore that more relatives were arriving soon for lunch and the main course was burned to a crisp. Lydia was content and my heart was full of love.
This experience was also really affirming to me, as a creator of faith-based-books for children. Throughout the weekend, my niece kept returning to the Frolic books again and again. She had several to choose from and I wasn’t pushing the Frolic books on her. I kept thinking, Hurray! She likes them!
And it reminded me that one of the best ways I can bless the children in my life is by continuing to develop high quality books that they’ll love, that introduce them to God, and that give their parents a much needed respite from the chaos. A book, even a small board book, has the potential to contain so many blessings. Thank God for books!
Originally Published 5/18/2016