Library of Congress Book Festival

For this year’s Library of Congress Book Festival in September, the theme was “Open a Book, Open the World.” This really resonated with me as that was the maxim of my grandfather’s world as well. As children, he always encouraged us to read. He told us if we could read, there was nothing we could not learn to do; the world would always be open.


My grandfather was so right. He grew up in an era of large families. Schools were few and far between, so a tutor was employed to teach the children. My great grandfather employed a Cambridge graduate to teach his children. He also built a schoolroom on the farm, so the neighborhood children also were able to benefit. Based on the model of learning he had undergone, my grandfather taught us. He would make us look up words in the dictionary, learn what they meant and how to spell them. He would make us collect wildflowers and herbs and bring them back to the house, where we had to look through reference books to find them to identify them, and so my love of books was born.

wooden school structure in park
Photo by Pixabay on


As a foundation pupil at the local school, the headmaster did not have time to teach us because of his other duties, so we were told to take books out of the stockroom, sit under the trees, and read. Our class was probably the most educated that year as we read our way through the entire stockroom!
I am thinking of today’s children with online learning; the world is open to them at the push of a few buttons. For many, reading a book is a real challenge; it is not something they enjoy. Is it too easy to access knowledge? Do they find it harder to discern what to read? Are the options too many? I don’t know what the answer is as I have struggled with my grandchildren getting them to enjoy reading as I had done.

girls sitting under the tree
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on


For me, there was nothing more enjoyable than taking a book, something to eat, climb a tree and enjoy the world I was reading about undisturbed. I lived in these worlds. They opened my eyes to the possibilities outside of a small town in a small country. I longed to travel the world, see the places I read about, experience the different cultures and foods, meet new people, and have adventures. An exciting world lay outside my immediate boundaries, but I could enjoy it vicariously through the books I was reading. Later I set about enjoying these adventures in reality when I became an adult.

woman reading book at daytime, leaning against the tree
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on


I was thrilled when the Library of Congress, one of the most extensive Libraries in the world, chose their theme, “Open a Book, Open the World.” I would love someone to tell me how to inspire young people again to enjoy the worlds within two covers. Modern children have so many more privileges than generations before them and have access to more knowledge that will help them advance in the world than previous generations. How do we help them understand that nothing can stop them from reaching their potential once they can read?

books in black wooden book shelf
Photo by Pixabay on


I would love to hear stories of how books have inspired you to have adventures or go on to achieve things you would not have been able to do without that knowledge or inspiration. Books can help you learn new ways of interacting with the world, spiritually and emotionally too. I found the King James Version of the Bible almost a foreign language and hard to understand. Modern translations have helped simplify and interpret Scriptures in a more understandable way for the modern reader, without detracting from the truth but enhancing it, making it easier to apply to twenty first century life. Devotional books make it easier to connect with God through inspiring stories and prayers.

selective focus photo of person holding the Bible
Photo by Luis Quintero on

Thank you to the Library of Congress for once again reminding us that Books are our Passport to the world, both seen and unseen, real and imagined, past, present, and future worlds. Time to get down to the Library and find what is new on the Shelves!



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12 thoughts on “OPEN A BOOK OPEN THE WORLD”

  1. Enjoyed reading this, excuse the pun!
    Books are good, and we still need them.
    Of course the most important book is the Bible.
    It is our love letter from our heavenly Father.
    Lovely photos Deryn.

      1. Hi Nico,

        Yes, please. You said you would like to start reviewing books a while back. I wrote a book that I think will fit well in your genre of meditations. It is available on Kindle at or if you prefer I can send you a PDF file. I would really appreciate a review both on your blog. and on Amazon.

        Thanking you kindly in advance


      2. Ok sounds good! Can you send it in a PDF file to my email? You should be able to see my email address under your comments section, but it’s nicodemasplusthree.
        Believe it or not I’m actually kind of low tech but I’m learning! Peace and blessings!

      3. Ha Ha, I am also very low-tech, it is a huge learning curve but still great fun when you meet the challenges! I am sending you the PDF now via your email!


  2. Yes, books are good, especially when people have written their life experiences to help others.
    If people didn’t write books, then how could we help each other. And healing can come through books.
    Of course there is the writing,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,writing is another subject.

    Keep up the good work Deryn.

  3. I didn’t grow up in a household of readers. We never went to the library. The grade school I attended had a bookmobile that visited on occasion, probably on a regular schedule but I can’t recall. So, I didn’t grow up loving books or reading. God changed that when He introduced me to Victoria and Country Living magazines when I fell in love with their essays. Too this day, nonfiction is my favorite genre, but I read both even though I don’t have a lot of time to do so.

    1. That is amazing, that it was the Victoria and Country Magazines that got you started with reading! We did not have access to a library when I was young but my Grandfather had reference and wildlife books, and Shakespeare! I think it was his enthusiasm to teach us and my headmaster’s insistence we read, that gave us the love of books. I enjoy non-fiction as well, or historical fiction, that is based on non-fiction.

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