Wednesday 25 November 2015

Why do you like books, Aunty Missie?

As well as being the mother to two gorgeous boys, I'm also the aunt to four gorgeous boys.

Every Tuesday this year, I have had the great joy of picking up my 4 year old nephew from kinder. We have some great conversations in the car...

Yesterday, we were talking about Christmas, and I mentioned that I had had a special delivery the day before - some books for Christmas presents for my nephews - and I was hoping that some books that I had ordered would arrive today (copies of Nicki Edwards books).

He was in awe that I had bought so many books for Christmas, then asked the following questions:

"Why do you have so many books, Aunty Missie? Do you read them all? Why do you like books, Aunty Missie?"

The answer to the first question was easy: Because I like books.

The second answer was a bit harder, more for the follow up question: I have read most of them...

He then wanted to know why I hadn't read all of them! I told him that it was because I had more books than time to read. Thankfully, he moved on to the next question rather than ask why...

The third answer was the biggest challenge. Why do I like books?

I had to think for a minute before explaining in a way that a very bright four year old would understand.

I like that books can transport you to places far away in space and time. They can introduce you to many and varied characters without leaving the comfort of your own home (and without you having to find a babysitter!).

I like that books, both fiction and non-fiction, can teach you things. They can open your eyes to history, science, literature, and so many more subjects. They can teach you about people and how they live, what they do, how they think.

I like that books can be both new and familiar, even books you've read a million times. A well read book is like catching up with an old friend, and a new book is the start of a new adventure.

I like that no two people see the same book in the same way. I like that we all bring our own experiences and tastes to colour the pages of a story, so that I book I love might be one you can't finish and vice versa.

I like the comfort that comes from a pile of books on my bedside table just waiting to be read and bulging bookshelves. For me, this helps make a house a home.

How did I answer my nephew? I simply said that books can teach you things and take you on wonderful adventures.

As a little boy who likes to learn new things, this answer was satisfactory and we moved on to other things. I can't wait to give him a new book this Christmas, and another one for his birthday, and every other opportunity I can. I look forward to expanding my answer to his question by showing him how amazing books are as he grows.

Melissa Gijsbers lives in Melbourne and writes in between working as a bookkeeper and being the mother of two active boys. She is a blogger and author of flash fiction and children's books.

Follow her writing journey at and


  1. Lovely post, Melissa--thank you. Those conversations with children are very precious and often get to the heart of things, don't they? I love giving books to our grandchildren for birthdays or Christmas--but I often think I buy them just because they appeal to me too!

  2. Why do I like books? What an obvious question, yet one I've never really thought of. I guess books are a way of travelling to other places and getting inside the minds of other people. Because a good character has all the personality quirks of a real person.

    1. I thought it was an obvious and easy question to answer - until I started thinking more about it! It's not something I had thought of before yesterday!

  3. How delightful, Melissa. As Jo-Anne says, conversations with kiddies so often get to the true heart of things. Sharing an ongoing adventure with my two boys when they were littlies was a key influence in met starting to write.

    It's so special to be able to share the magic of stories with kiddies. Hey, and adults. We never tire of that magic do we?

  4. Great post Melissa and some wonderful answers.

  5. Good on your nephew, for asking these questions. I love it when people ask good questions at a young age. Great answers on your part too. I love that quote, 'I'm a reader not because I don't have a life, but because I choose to have many.'


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