Pat Mora coined the word “Bookjoy” and shared it with the audience at the 2017 Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival. I wished I had thought of it myself, but she gave me permission to use it. It fits an agenda important to me. Rather than giving kids rewards or points for reading as though it was something repulsive they have to be conned into doing, I would like to make the case that reading should be the reward. Bookjoy!

Pat’s word made me think of a picture in my stash sent by my daughter-in-law who heard someone reading as she did the laundry. With only a three-year-old and two-year-old in the house, she was puzzled. The picture shows the reader she discovered as Benjamin “read” the book he’d memorized because he loved it to his little brother – Wendell and Florence Minor’s If You Were a Penguin. Bookjoy!

I had a couple of methods of creating bookjoy as a parent and as a teacher. If a child got himself/herself off to bed on time without trauma, said child could leave the lamp on to read. I’ve taken many a book fallen on a child’s chest as he lost the sleep battle, put a bookmark in the place, and laid it aside for the next morning where it might be read again alongside breakfast cereal. And there was the summer night when my junior high mathematician son borrowed my book from my kiddie lit class. Finding a fellow math lover in Carry On, Mr. Bowditch kept him up all night. Bookjoy!

In a similar manner, my second-grade students who finished their work could read anything they chose for any time we were not involved in classwork. They brought their favorites, magazines, comic books, and hurried to be the first to read the treasures from my desk – Amelia Bedelia, Ramona, Stuart Little, All of a Kind Family . . . Bookjoy!

This week I had to close Midnight Without a Moon when the technician called me back for bloodwork at a routine doctor’s visit. She looked about the age to have a middle-schooler so I asked. She confirmed a daughter that age who shared her love of reading. I recommended the book and she put its name in her phone. “I’ll look for it,” she said, “I like to get her little ‘happies’ now and then.” Bookjoy!

Of course, my latest efforts are concentrated on a couple of grandsons. I just realized this second picture is also a Minor book, How to Be a Bigger Bunny. The boys have books from other authors, but Wendell and Florence are favorites with the preschool set.

I invite you to join Pat Mora and me in spreading Bookjoy!