Hidden Gems on My Bookshelf

Maybe some of you are like me.  You have fond memories of those days in elementary school when your teacher passed out the Scholastic Book Club Flyer.  Oh man, there was nothin' like it!  I poured over it, circling books I wanted, marking books I needed with a big fat star.  Then on the bus ride home, I thought about how much money I might have stashed in my sock drawer or how much change I might find in the junk drawer in the kitchen to add to whatever amount I'd be able squeeze out of my parents.

Then the painful part came when I had to make those final decisions, knowing that I most likely wouldn't have quite enough money to get every book on my wish list.

Some of those book club books became my very favorites.  And many of them I still have on my bookshelf.  They don't look shiny and new anymore like they did on that exciting day when my teacher would come in after lunch recess with that Scholastic book box in her hands. 

But it's these tattered, worn books that are my hidden gems.  The well-loved condition they are in is proof of their importance in my reading life growing up.  And now that I'm an author, and I look back at these beloved books, I realize that it's stories like these that, no doubt, built the foundation for my future life as a writer.  It makes me thankful for Scholastic Book Clubs, for my teachers who passed out the flyers every month and filled out the order forms, for my parents who dug deep in their purses and wallets to give me extra money for books, and for the authors who wrote the stories that, because I read them so much, became a part of me.
Maybe you have the same kinds of hidden gems on your bookshelves.  Or you have your own children who are busy buying and reading the books that will become their hidden gems.  Or you are a teacher or librarian guiding your students to enjoy books in such a way that they will consider them hidden gems.  Whatever the case may be, I hope my post today will remind all of us just how important these hidden gems can be.  For me, they created the foundation for becoming an author, but the real value of these hidden gems is that they create the foundation for different things in all of us.  And that foundation building begins when we provide young readers with a treasure trove of books so that they are able to discover, collect, and keep the ones that will become their hidden gems.

Happy Reading,
Nancy J. Cavanaugh 


  1. You really brought back some great memories with this post Nancy. Wish I had all the books I'd ordered back then!

  2. I love this idea of books being the foundation to EVERYONE'S later life--no matter what direction they take!

  3. Oh, the photos here! How they took me back in time! Thanks for sharing these, Nancy.


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