• Linda Borromeo

When a Picture is Worth a Thousand (or More) Words

Updated: Apr 6, 2021

What is a great way to share our love of reading?

In January, it's National Shelfie Day. Celebrate by taking a photo of your favorite bookshelf and sharing it online. You can see the Library Shelfie I took below.

According to Holiday Smart, National Shelfie Day began in 2014, launched by the New York Public Library. This year, it's observed on January 27th, 2021.

What I'll Never Know

Have you ever browsed in a used bookstore and wondered about an inscription? I still remember this one written on the inside cover of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz:

"To Beth on Christmas Day.

Love, Mom and Daddy.

December 1953."

Does Beth still remember that Christmas day? Did Beth grow up to have a career, children, a happy life? I'll never know what happened to Beth.

What I Do Know

I do know what happened to the owners of the books in my Shelfie. These vintage books belonged to my grandmother, my great-aunt, my mother and my father.

My Library Shelfie with a book handed down through my family

My Dad's Gift to His Family

I can still hear my dad's voice reading to us from these books. After a long day of work, Dad took time to read to the whole family in the evening. I especially remember Dad reading Ralph Moody's books set in the American West.

Today, I found something I'd missed before—a note in my mother's handwriting tucked within the pages of a Ralph Moody book. She'd kept track of the stories he'd read to us from the series.

Peoples Book Club edition of "Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers."

Return to Oz

On another Christmas day, my father and his younger sister, Grace, opened a gift and discovered Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz.

Dad kept the book through the years before passing it along to me late in life. I like to think of my father attaching the Santa decoration (below, lower left corner) to his new book as a child long ago.

Books are memorable both for their content and their connections. On my bookshelf, I see a rich heritage. It's the gift families and individuals can give to a child—the love of reading.

#BooksandReading #LibraryShelfies

Vintage family books handed down to me (from left to right in my Shelfie):

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin. Inscription: To Marjorie, Christmas 1933 from Dad and Mama.

(Note: I had no idea movie tie-ins were done this early. The cover of the above book has an illustration of Mary Pickford as Rebecca. Inside, there are pictures from her 1917 silent movie. The book was handed down to my mother and now to me.)

Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster. To Blanche, 1918.

Five Little Peppers Midway by Margaret Sidney. To Marjorie from Aunt May and Aunt Laura.

Judith of the Plains by Marie Manning.

The Grand Canyon of the Colorado by John C. Van Dyke. July 1921

On Autumn Trails by Emma-Lindsay Squire. To Marjorie—a gift from Mama and Dad on our vacation trip Aug. 22, 1932.

Geraldine's Birthday Surprise by Alice Hale Burnett. To Marjorie from Aunt May Christmas 1928.


Originally owned by my great-aunt May, I enjoyed seeing that this beautiful book was published in 1893.

My first book, Mystery Shores, is set on a lighthouse island in the summer of 1893. Perhaps this edition of Five Little Peppers Midway is on the shelf of the traveling lighthouse library at Mystery Shores Island.

Mystery Fair, the sequel to Mystery Shores, is set at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. It will be available for pre-order soon.