by Vicki Palmquist
For several years, I have been dipping into a book that I keep beside my desk. It’s called Today I Will: a Year of Quotes, Notes, and Promises to Myself (Knopf, 2009). Two acknowledged masters of children’s literature, Eileen Spinelli and Jerry Spinelli, wrote it. They are parents and grandparents and one can feel their love and concern for future generations in this book.
When I was growing up, I often received the gift of a day-by-day book that had word definitions or devotions or super-short stories in it. I didn’t have enough patience to read each page on the designated day, but I read several pages at once, returning often for just a few, satisfying minutes.
This book’s format finds each page with a quote from a children’s book, a thought- and discussion-provoking statement or questions, an illustration by Julie Rothman, and an example of a promise you could make to yourself (or as a family).
I love books of quotations. Do you? This book looks more deeply into the thoughts inspired by the quote.
Once in awhile, the book feels a little heavy-handed, but I remind myself that I am an adult with many years of experience in my brain. For someone still in the first decade or two of their life, these are ideas worth considering. There’s no shying away from the moral compass in Today I Will. I find that refreshing. Especially now, when all of our worry meters are turned to HIGH, I feel that a book like this is grounding.
Eight to 12-year-olds will enjoy Today I Will on their own, but a classroom or homeschool or family could use this for a short, daily discussion or a writing prompt.
“If you’ve been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you — you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness.” —The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
I hesitated before writing about this book, even though it’s a favorite of mine. It’s no longer in print (and that’s a rant for another day) but it is available as an e‑book. That won’t be nearly as satisfying as holding this book in your hands (it’s a good size, a good weight, and the paper is really nice) but you can easily find this at a used bookseller (I know this — I looked it up).
Not everything we read has to be entertaining. Sometimes we want to think and feel and learn to know ourselves better. This book is a good fit.