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  • Writer's pictureClover

The Gift of a Good Book

Updated: Jan 28, 2023

As 2022 comes to a close, Clover caps off the year with “The Gift of a Good Book” suggesting three reads that are sure to please. This month her Picks celebrate the glory of the holiday season with characters who bring joy to others with their good works. Check out Clover’s suggestions at your school library, Washington Public Library and Scenic Regional Library and its branches, and at your local bookstore, Neighborhood Reads! Page On!

The Community Literacy Foundation, in partnership with Neighborhood Reads and with support from its sponsors, provides these books to 40 school and public libraries in Washington, Union, Pacific, St. Clair and surrounding communities. Learn more at

Youngest Read

A lovely, wintery tradition comes to life in “The Christmas Book Flood” by Emily Kilgore. The story is based on a joyful event that occurs on Dec. 24 when the populace in Iceland gifts books to one another, then burn the midnight oil to enjoy their new acquisitions. As everyone knows, “Reading is magic—when you have the right book.”

Though it’s a dark time of year, snow often blanketing the land, books bring light to lives by opening up new worlds, providing adventures and allowing readers to lose themselves in fantasy. As such, readers escape into tales that simultaneously tantalize and mesmerize.

Floods of books began being distributed as gifts during World War II, when items were rationed because they were in small supply—but paper wasn’t, so books fit the bill.

“The Christmas Book Flood” features atmospheric illustrations by Kitty Moss--pictures show readers celebrating the process of this ages-old custom, smiles wide in merriment as just the right book is selected for personal giveaways. “Big books, small ones, thick and thin. New tales, old histories, fantastic and true.” Each selected for maximum pleasure.

Middle Read

The backbone of music is the musical scale, celebrated in the recognizable song that begins, “Doe, a deer, a female deer, Ray, a drop of golden sun…” It’s a tune made famous by the movie “The Sound of Music,” starring Julie Andrews.

Now Andrews, and daughter Emma Walton Hamilton, have co-authored “The First Notes,” a book about how the musical scale came to be, all thanks going to a humble monk named Guido, who “heard music everywhere.”

Guido adored music but felt it hard to learn, complicated hymns taking years to master. Why couldn’t music be written down? Then people could learn to “read music.” Guido set to work accomplishing this feat, but met defeat at every turn. That is until he met Bishop Theodald Arezzo who’d heard about Guido and offered him a position teaching a choir in a great church.

The opportunity served Guido well—he got to try out his method of reading music, which eventually spread worldwide. Illustrator Chiara Fedele beautifully captures Guido’s struggle in a book that’s sure to spawn a song.

Oldest Read

Based on real-life sea otters, brilliant author Katherine Applegate weaves a fictional story of hope and survival set in Monterey Bay in California. There, staff at the world-famous aquarium, rescue and rehabilitate the little creatures, dubbed the “champions of cute.”

Told in verse, readers meet Otter #156, known by her friends as Odder because of her curious, playful nature and daring acrobatic moves in the water. Odder’s best bud is Kairi, a more cautious sea otter, who at Odder’s urging, takes a chance and suffers the consequences, an outcome that racks Odder’s conscience because she feels responsible for her friend’s troubles.

Odder has her own problems, arising from a brush with a shark. Her injuries result in Odder returning to the aquarium for the second time in three years—once again facing challenges and opportunities she couldn’t have imagined, and being blessed by a reunion she doesn’t expect.

“Odder” is a charming story that entertains and educates readers about sea otters and the good work done by “aquarists,” staff at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. From front cover to last page, this animal story is sure to steal your heart and pique your interest in sea otters and marine life.

Written by Chris Stuckenschneider. Copyright 2022, Community Literacy Foundation.

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