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Princess Alethea and the Power of Words

As promised, here is the small speech I gave at the World Book Night Givers Reception last night at Gum Springs Library. xox

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WBN Loves Cover“Words have power.” This phrase was said by Mama Woodcutter to her youngest daughter Sunday, in my novel Enchanted.

Words have power. We all know this to be true…of course, in my book, I took it literally (no spoilers for those who haven’t read it!).

Words have power. Enchanted contains around 74,000 of them. I’d say that’s a decent amount of power.

If words could be converted into kilowatts, this library could light up the city. But when I say “power” in this context I don’t mean electrical…I mean MAGIC.

And, as I always say, Magic is best when shared.

It was my father who first shared this magic with me, reading to me every night when I was a baby. When I was three, Mom realized that *I* was the one reading, while Dad snored peacefully away on the bed beside me.

THAT’S how powerful words are to me. I never remember learning how to read. It’s like I just knew. To me, words have always been magic.

From that point on, books were my life. They were my favorite things in the world. I was not shy about telling people this, so I always got books as gifts from my family. Some kids get turtles or unicorns or teddy bears–I got books.

I still have the ones that were inscribed to me by my grandmothers and my aunt. Thanks to a plethora of Library Book Sales, I even have a bunch of books inscribed to other people. I love those just as much, even though I never knew the givers or the recipients. It simply adds history to the character of the book itself, giving it a place and a time, a purpose, and a life.

Tomorrow night, World Book Night Givers will be giving life to half a million books all across the United States.

That’s some pretty powerful magic, if I do say so myself.

And what better way to share the magic of reading? It’s so wonderful when a friend puts a book into my hand and says, “You must read this!” There are billions of books out there, but that one made it through the slush pile and was vetted by my very own personal pre-reader. What more could I ask for?

I remember those moments–powerful, strong memories. I remember when the local bookseller handed me the hardcover of Robin McKinley’s Deerskin and told me I was going to love it. I had just graduated high school. Almost a decade later, my co-worker Kitti walked into my cubicle and forced a book into my hands, making me SWEAR I would read it. That book was A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.

Of course, I am TOTALLY guilty of pushing books off on other people as well. There are books I look for at book sales for the sole purpose of hoarding multiple copies to force upon my friends at will. Some of those titles have been: William Goldman’s The Princess Bride, Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen, Orson Scott Card’s novelization of The Abyss, and The Monster at the End of This Book, starring Grover. (Still one of the best baby shower gifts of all time!)

Givers, tomorrow night, you will be making these memories. You will be the one who means something to someone so powerfully that they will remember it for the rest of their lives. It may not be the same with every person you hand that book to, but at least one book in that box you’re taking home with you tonight is going to make a difference. And that is a powerful thing.

Because words have power. Words are magic. And magic is best when shared.

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