, Salem, MA


November 27, 2013

Anderson: Thankful for the gift of books

Just ahead of Massachusetts’ beginning to collect sales tax from Amazon this month, I ordered “Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims” by Rush Limbaugh, planning to quickly read it then send it to the grandtwins in time for Thanksgiving.

I still think it was a great idea, to create a history book for children using time-travel and a magic horse named Liberty, and this would probably be a fine gift for younger children, but I can’t send it to my 12-year-olds because — how to say this — it’s not quite up to their standards. Maya read the entire Harry Potter series before she was 10; I discovered the first Percy Jackson & the Olympians book (about the modern-day children of the Greek gods) on a sale table and sent it to Aidan, who devoured the rest of the series; we all read “The Hunger Games,” and I sent them James Patterson’s “Witch and Wizard.” All of these are about young people fighting evil, whether Lord Voldemort or a government that has grown too powerful.

I’d also like my grandchildren to see American history through the eyes of a conservative, if only to balance what they’ll eventually learn in college, but, unfortunately, that conservative writer probably shouldn’t be Rush Limbaugh, who somehow made himself the hero on the horse. I say this as an admiring regular listener to his radio show, which is the day job he definitely shouldn’t give up in an attempt to channel J.K.Rowling.

But this book-search exercise got me thinking. The original Thanksgiving story was interesting enough to my generation; I never tired of hearing about Miles Standish, Squanto and Massasoit, Priscilla and John. I read a lot, but was happy with human children like the Bobbsey Twins and later, teenagers Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. My favorite book was “Anne of Green Gables.” None of these, saved on my bookshelves all these many years, appealed to my grandchildren.

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