Life Advice



Ask Amy: This year, put ‘A Book on Every Bed’

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Readers: Every year at Christmastime, I ask readers to put “A Book on Every Bed.” I do so in memory of my mother, Jane, whose weekly trips to our town’s library always yielded armloads of books. In our household, we went without some things that other families had, but we always had books in abundance.

The idea to put books on beds at Christmastime originally came from historian David McCullough, who recounted the Christmas mornings of his youth, when the very first thing he woke up to was a wrapped book at the base of his bed, left there by Santa.

The most important part is what happens next: Family members reading together.

Working with my local literacy partner Children’s Reading Connection (, this campaign has grown to include schools, libraries and booksellers, who have donated scores of books to families that might not have access to them.

This year, I am thrilled that author Jacqueline Woodson ( agreed to share a very personal literacy story. Ms. Woodson is the winner of, well — all of the awards for her genre-spanning work, including the prestigious Newbery and Caldecott, as well as a MacArthur “Genius” grant (2020). Her books, “Brown Girl Dreaming” and “The Day You Begin” are both very important to the children in my life.

She writes:


A Pile of Books

“The other night, a friend was describing her love for books. She said that love began when she was a child and her dad would bring a pile of books to read to her before she went to sleep.

As I listened, I imagined what would it have been like to have 'a pile of books' and someone who had the time at the end of the day to read them to me. Or better, to be able to read them to myself.

The books I had as a child were borrowed from the library or the worn books that had moved through many hands before landing, often in states of disrepair, in my own hands.


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