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THE BIG FIX

How to leave no child behind. What do L.A. kids need to thrive?

Book it

December 29, 2007|BY SUSAN PATRON | Susan Patron is a former senior children's librarian at the Los Angeles Public Library and the author of "The Higher Power of Lucky," winner of the 2007 Newbery Medal.

One of the great trials of childhood is writing obligatory thank-you notes, a post-holiday challenge now being undertaken in households across the country. How to sound enthusiastic and grateful, especially when the gift seems to have been selected for someone belonging to another species?

Solution: Let every aunt, uncle, grandparent, friend and parent make every gift a book, or several books. From newborn to college grad, wrap them up and hand them over in piles, because one of them will stick. It doesn't matter whether the recipient is an avid reader or not -- try audio books for kids who spend a lot of time in cars, or an offer to read the book aloud as part of the gift.

The thank-you notes still may not be very articulate. But the giver can be sure that a good book has the potential to provide a kind of global positioning system to the geography of the heart, or to worlds the reader might never have found otherwise.

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