Books Are My Family’s Inheritance

I’ve seen a couple of recent blogs about “inheritance” books—you know, those books that you have loved for your lifetime and plan to pass to the next generation. That reminded me of the baby shower given for my nephew and niece not long ago. Guests were asked to bring a book for the baby’s library. My sister and I decided it was time to pass on part of our “inheritance.”

TThe Wild Swanhe book we chose to give to the next generation was a picture book based on The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Anderson. It’s a favorite fairytale of mine, featuring a king, a wicked step-mother and the children she can’t wait to get rid of. So she sends the girl away and curses the boys, who become swans by day and turn into themselves as the sun goes down. Only the love and devotion of the daughter saves her brothers and returns them to a normal life.

The book is full of beautiful images and the cover has inset 3D artwork. But the best part is that the book was a gift from our grandmother and granddaddy when we were in grade school, which makes it extra special to pass on to the next generation.

Do you have an “inheritance” book on your shelves? Or one you’ve already shared? What is it and what makes it special for you?

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19 thoughts on “Books Are My Family’s Inheritance”

  1. What a fabulous idea. I can’t really say I have a special book like that. Most of mine are more adult type books.

  2. Good morning, Janine! I’m a collector, of sorts, of old books. My favorites are always the ones from my family–the small leather bound book of poetry my great-aunt kept with a violet pressed between the pages, the children’s books from grandparents, etc.

  3. I have a cookbook that belonged to my Mom and have now passed it down to my daughter. It has all of her “best” recipes marked in her own hand. Precious memories!

  4. Absolutely, Jan. I wish I had my grandmother’s recipe notebook. A family member typed them all up–but the handwritten notes and stains are what make it special.

  5. Hi Tracy, what a fun post. I don’t really have a cook that has been passed down. Rather I will name the books I give. . Our inheritance books are Goodnight Moon for new babies, and Oh the Places You’ll Go for graduates. With a little grandniece now and another on the way, I’ll be adding Little Wo,en into the mix. Xo

  6. I have books that I know my family have also learned to love. The first one that comes to mind is Ricka, Dicka, and Flika and the Polka Dot Dresses. This is one of the first books I could read to my younger siblings some 65 years ago. I was thrilled that my niece found new ones for sale in a museum gift shop. There were also companion books for boys whose names were Snip, Snap and Snur.

    I often give books as baby gifts because books are so very important in my life. Karen Kingsbury has several that I like to give as well as Billy Chrystal.

  7. I guess, we’re starting the trend with baby/toddler books. I have given my daughter our collection of nursery rhymes and fairy tales from when she was young. She will pass them on to her children. We have heirlooms in our family, but not in book form. A novel idea though…pun intended!!

  8. Charlene, we’ve held back some of the books that the kiddos won’t enjoy until they are older. My mom has great memories of reading to her grandsons from those books of poems and rhymes.

  9. Oh, that is my favorite fairy tale and you are the only other person I know that has mentioned it. I think it stuck with me because it wasn’t an entirely HEA. My daughter just went to a shower with the same idea of bringing a book. She selected The Littlest Angel. I would read it to them every Christmas and could never get through it without sobbing.

  10. Hi Tracey,

    When I was little my Dad went to Denver for a meeting and brought back a book of fairy tales for me and one for my brother. I loved it because it was from Dad and because it was a book. 🙂 Mine is falling apart a little because I read it so much, but should I have children it will be passed down to them.


  11. I have passed a few books to on to my children and grandchildren. Unfortunately, my home as a child was one with few books and none for gifts I could pass along. My aunt had a complete (for then) Nancy Drew set and I gloried in that when I visited her. Luckily she let me read them all.

    when our girls were in grade school, Holly Hobby was a favorite of theirs. A Holly Hobby cookbook came out and we spent many afternoons enjoying cooking with recipes from it. When my oldest daughter got married, I gave it to her. She now has a daughter and I know they will be cooking those same recipes together when she gets old enough. We all still use the Macaroni and Cheese and Chocolate dessert recipes from it.

    I now collect old books and may pass some of the old children’s books along to the grandchildren if they show any interest. Books are such a big part of my life it is sad I don’t have any from my youth. None at home, but I lived at the library.

  12. catslady! I’m so glad to find someone else who knows and loves this fairytale! You’re right, it isn’t a traditional HEA, but the girl gets her man in the end. lol

    And I LOVE The Littlest Angel, too. Its a small, but mighty, book.Definitely a two kleenex read.

  13. Kirsten, doesn’t that make a book even more special, to remember when and from whom you received it? I’ll admit, I have a couple of books I’m just not ready to part with. Instead, I buy another copy and gift that. Maybe I’ll be able to part with them for the great-great generation…

  14. Patricia B., you’ll always remember those hours in the library, though, won’t you? At the RWA Convention a couple of weeks ago, I was privileged to attend the Librarian’s Luncheon. Jill Shalvis, the speaker, talked of the escape she found in her local library and how vital those hours were to her as a child. Hooray for all the librarians!

  15. THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD-Watty Piper- perseverance
    HEIDI – Johanne Spyri- friendship, love, living with handicap a wheel chair
    THE CRICKET IN TIMES SQUARE-George Selden friendship, love, overcoming greed
    LOUIS THE TRUMPETER SWAN- EB White overcoming handicap no voice with the use of a slate and later a trumpet
    CHARLOTTE’S WEB- EB White helping others
    THE GIVING TREE-Shel Silverstein friendship, sacrifice and love

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