The Bern and Kathryn Hanford Children’s Library

conversations with Hank

When we moved to Portugal I think we brought eight books total with us now we are blessed with a floor to ceiling bountiful library thanks to my generous parents with additional support from friends and family.


Hank: (standing in front of the kid’s bookshelf)

Me: (walking by) What’s up, sailor?

Hank: (frustrated sigh) I am doing my homework.

Me: And your homework is to stare at books?

Hank: My homework is to pick my favorite book and write about it.

Me: Oh, right.

Hank: And I have so many favorite books this is hard.

Me: (pause, smiling) May I make a suggestion?

Hank: (nodding)

Me: Why don’t you narrow the search? Why don’t you select your favorite book in Portuguese? It may be easier for your friends to find your favorite book at the library or bookstore to read if you choose a book we know to already be available in Portuguese.

Hank: Oh, that is a good idea and if I think about it that way then there is only one choice. (selects A Princesa da Neve by Emily Hawkins) This is my very most favorite book in Portuguese. I love it so much. I can open it and without even reading it I can go inside the story in my imagination. (hugging the book to his chest)

Me: That is a sign of a great book. I used to do that with The Brambly Hedge books and Holly Hobby and Carl Larsson books when I was your age.

Hank: (still fixated on the bookshelf) Mama, we have a lot of books.

Me: You are your sister are very lucky to have so many books. I grew up surrounded by books. Books still are some of my best friends, but you papa didn’t grow up with books. He grew up wild and free, climbing trees and stealing fruit and pine nuts and whole loaves of bread and hanging upside down by his knees from tree branches. Your papa didn’t fall in love with books until he went to school when he was seven.

Hank: But he loves books now.

Me: Books are treasures.

Hank: Most of these books are from my Grammy and Grandpa Snitch.

Me: Indeed, they are.

Hank: We should make a sign. This is their library.

Me: We should make a sign reading: The Bern and Kathryn Hanford Children’s Library.

Hank: (finally looking away from the shelves, still hugging the book) Can we?

Me: Consider it done.