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Hand: There’s nothing better than a book from Santa

Luci Hand

Luci Hand

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Updated: January 23, 2014 6:21AM



Boy, this morning I found a wonderful idea to share with you for Christmas but it may be too late!

In reading the paper, I came across Amy Dickinson’s advice column and read about her “purloined” program, Book on Every Bed.

She got the idea from the author David McCullough. When he was growing up, on Christmas morning when he awoke, there was a wrapped gift of a book on the bed, from Santa, of course.

Dickinson has joined with familyreading.org to spread the word about this idea.

Of course you are giving books to the youngsters (and oldsters) in your family, but this is a neat way of making books more important than toys.

Take one of the books you have and wrap it and put it on their bed this year and let’s file the idea away for next year, too.

Of course, it could be put to use at other times of the year as well. Tooth Fairy? Easter Bunny?

Keeping traditions going is so important. Handing things down is part of building the culture that we all enjoy and cherish.

In “Passing The Music Down” by Sarah Sullivan, we watch as a young boy travels from Indiana to “east of Tennessee” to hear an older man play the fiddle.

We are talking about what I call Bluegrass music here. The older man plays for and then listens to the boy and asks him to visit on the farm.

There starts a longtime mentorship and performance partnership. The boy comes and spends the summer, working on the farm and playing every evening, learning all that the old-timer can teach him.

Time goes by and the old-timer passes and the young boy, an adult now, continues to play the tunes at festivals and concerts. We leave him with a young boy yelling out for him to play a certain song, “Pass the Music Down.”

This is based on a true story which is told in the back. It is a lyrical read-a-loud that encourages us to pass those skills and customs we have on.

How could I resist a book that starts with “Once, I met a Django.” I had to read on to see what it was, of course.

Levi Pinfold brings the story “The Django” and it goes on to describe it as “it’s like a thing. A sort of it. A kind of cossler that always seems to find trouble.”

As we read, we realize that the boy Jean might be using the Django as the excuse for the trouble he is getting into. Is the Django real or not?

He can’t resist “playing” his father’s banjo and breaks the “skin.”

We watch as the Django continues to get him in trouble as he mourns the banjo. Finally, he yells at the Django to go away.

And it does. And he is somehow sad.

His father cheers him up with his own banjo and we learn that Jean is actually based on Django (Jean) Reinhardt, an outstanding jazz musician. His story is told in the back of the book.



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