Shelves of Books

On March 18th I began what is now a live daily online Storytime, reading to kids and families. With libraries closed, I quickly realized what a blessing it is that I have shelves upon shelves of children’s books in my home. I began thinking about that blessing, about how it came to be, and this story in rhyme came to me…

It was all of nineteen years ago 
we took upon ourselves
to move into a red brick house
with floor-to-ceiling shelves.

Those shelves! They begged for books, and yet
with nothing left to spare
after bigger bills and growing boys
the shelves remained book-bare. 
For years we did our best 
with what we had to fill the space:
A few prize books, some trinkets, 
pics in frames, a treasured vase.
But I knew it in my head and heart:
Those shelves were meant for BOOKS. 
How to stock them on a budget
seemed as daunting as it looks. 


The words grabbed my attention
on a bless-ed day in Spring:
“Used Book Sale at the Library”!
!!!Books!!! for budgets on a string!
And that, my friends, is how
those lovely floor-to-ceiling shelves, 
with time and love and quarters
came to populate themselves
with children’s books and chapter books
and historical nonfiction.
I went to countless book sales 
with spare change and great conviction.  
And now all these years later
it becomes quite clear to me…
The stocking of those shelves
was more than whimsicality. 
For you and I right now are
necessarily apart. 
But I’ve got shelves of books
to keep us close and warm our hearts. 

- Renata Bowers, April 2020

If you’d like to join me for my M-F Storytime at 4pm EST (and I hope you do!), visit the Frieda Facebook page at All previous Storytimes are accessible by scrolling through the feed.

I’ll continue these Storytimes until we are free to be out and about once again.

Blessings to You and Yours – Renata


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