Thursday, October 15, 2009

How to Write a Book Inscription for a Child

Inscribing a book to a child seems like it would be an easy task. But with all the lonesome books I find, I can firmly state that books to kids, babies and children do not stay with the child for long - most kids are not sentimental and it is usually up to parents to be sentimental for them - and what parent likes to see a kid's cluttered room? One garage sale or trip to the thrift store and your beautiful inscription ends up on my blog.

Here are some useful tips for gifting an inscribed book to a child.

The first step to writing an inscription to a child is to do a little research. Find out what books the child likes. Perhaps you are dealing with a non-reader, but still feel the need to gift a book; investigate the child's hobbies. A book may seem like a perfect gift, but not when it doesn't make any sense. Giving a book of poetry to an 8-year-old airplane aficionado is just cruel and mocking. Giving the same 8-year-old Airplanes of World War II is inspired.

The next step is to know your audience. Is the receiver going to appreciate a book in the first place? Even kids that love to read may not enjoy getting books as presents. I'm not suggesting that every child is ungrateful; but sometimes it is hard to be enthusiastic when Aunt Betty just gave you a copy of Tom Sawyer, the same gift she has given to every niece and nephew for the last 20 years. It may be her favorite book, but the book is going to sit on the bookshelf for 2 years, and then it's going in the 10 cent yard sale box, and that is not where Tom Sawyer should end up.

Third, write something from the heart. Make it mean something, not just to yourself, but to the child. If this kid is actually going to read this book, and not just let it sit and rot, then let your inscription be the first page of the book - the first thing he wants to read every time he opens the book. Make what you write be something he wants to read even when he doesn't read the book.

Lastly, and this is important, you are hopefully giving part of yourself in this inscription. Don't let your gift be opened and tossed into a pile of toys during an exhausting record-smashing gift-opening frenzy. Give your book on the down-low. Save your special gift for a quiet moment, so you can explain the significance of the book and why you wrote the words you did. Whoever this child is in your life, let them know what this moment means to you and why they are so important in your life.

Other things to remember:

1. When inscribing a book to a newborn or baby, write your words now, but save the book as a gift until the child is older. Or, inscribe a baby book to the new parents instead.

2. Let the parent of the child know that you gave an inscribed book; like I stated earlier, it's usually the parents job to be sentimental. It will be mom and dad cleaning out the bedroom and tossing things into the donate box so make sure they know this is a special gift.

3. This is a perfect opportunity to show this little person how much you care about them - don't skimp on the message.

4. Always write the date - you'll want the receiver of the book to remember the occasion.

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