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As we begin a new year, let’s hope it’s memorable for all the right reasons unlike its predecessor. There are positive signs pointing to it.

We all remember superstorm Sandy. Images of destroyed homes, schools, businesses, and libraries will be long remembered — and most of us are on the outside looking in. It’s hard to imagine what it must be like to try to find normality when you’re living it.

But books help. I know from personal experience how comforting books can be. Readers of all ages return to books to find comfort when stressed — and authors ranging from Jane Austen to Maurice Sendak. I also have also seen the generosity of the children’s book community.

The children’s literature community has started getting new books (opens in a new window) to those who lost everything — individuals, classrooms, and libraries.

One publisher has outdone itself by donating one million books (opens in a new window) to areas hit hardest by Sandy.

Books can bring a welcome and necessary respite. They temporarily distance readers from the here and now, explore other places and times, and maybe let readers empathize with others.

After all, books are the comfort food of the mind.

Books for Sandy Relief

In this photo, students from The OLC School look over books donated by children’s book publisher Scholastic Inc. (opens in a new window) in Jersey City, New Jersey, January 8, 2013. Schools in the New York and New Jersey area that suffered damage due to Hurricane Sandy will receive one million books from Scholastic with the help of K.I.D.S. to replace those destroyed in the storm. (Photo courtesy of Scholastic)

About the Author

Reading Rockets’ children’s literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids’ books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Publication Date
January 10, 2013