Looking inside

by Vic­ki Palmquist

Today I WillFor 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.

bk_todayiwill2Eight 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.

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April Halprin Wayland
April Halprin Wayland
8 years ago

Thanks for intro­duc­ing me to this book – an intrigu­ing gift for a niece!