I love to read and I love books. I treat them with care, store them safely on shelves or carry them carefully in my bags. I shield them from rain with my body. I remind many little hands in elementary schools when I’m filling in for librarians that they are to care for the books they borrow, hold them carefully, and be careful with them at home so they can come back clean and in good shape to the library.
So why was I literally tearing apart books? This past weekend on a beautiful sunny Sunday, my daughter and her friend organized a Girl Scout badge called the Book Artist badge. Part of the badge was to destroy books in order to look at their insides. We requested books headed for the “discard” bin at our local public library. They were very gracious and gave us books in much better condition than we imagined. I balked slightly when I saw the condition of the books. They were beautiful. Hardbacks! As an aspiring author, with a dream of one day soon holding my own hardback book (maybe even with my signature imprinted in gold on the cover?) in my hands, how was I going to mutilate this most revered of objects? Or, more specifically, oversee the mutilation of three boxes of them?
Ripping apart a book was very difficult for a book lover to do, but ultimately, I must admit it was great fun! It felt like something we were Not Supposed To Be Doing, for sure. Once we had torn the books apart, the girls leading the badge taught the anatomy of a book (the spine, the signatures, end paper, headband) and a big group of Girl Scouts will not soon forget this book destruction experience. I even had to encourage some of them to put some muscle into it! They received an additional discarded book to write, color or cut the pages to make a hide-a-way storage area or anything else creative that suited their fancy. Then watched a video on how to create their own journal books applying their new knowledge.
My friend and author K.L. Kranes (who wrote the creative and inspiring YA book The Travelers) penned another informational and funny blog on our afternoon of ripping books in the sunshine outside of the library.
Until next time, keep reading, and take care of your books! (Unless, of course, you have a burning need to study the anatomy of a book!)