Step into the Magic World of Books

Step into the Magic World of Books

"And he stood up to read; and there was given to him [Jesus] the book of the prophet Isaiah."—Luke 4:16-17

We can see on television the great people of our day—presidents, kings, princes, scientists, writers, ministers, labor leaders, and all the rest.

But what about the great leaders of the past—How can we meet them?

Very simple. There is a way available. Without your stirring from your home town, they can speak to you.

How?

Through books. Yes, through the printed page men of old come to us, speaking the great words of the world. Stirring messages, famous speeches, thrilling words known to all—they are all there between the pages of some book.

Here is Moses, one of the world's great geniuses of all times—military hero, writer, prophet, desert warrior—sitting there on Mount Sinai. Or we find him in his tent, writing far into the night—writing the Ten Commandments and other laws that we read in the Bible.

Or we see the great David, once a shepherd boy, now king in Jerusalem, writing the twenty-third psalm, which begins, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want . . . ."

Or Jesus, sitting on a mountaintop, preaching to his disciples, who remembered his thrilling words and wrote them down. He started out, "Blessed are the poor in spirit . . . ." Through the greatest Book, the Bible, we know even the words Jesus spoke and so many of his actions. We know how he was crucified and rose from the dead. Through the printed page we may meet the Master and Savior.

In books about early Christian heroes we read of brave actions of those who died in the Roman arenas because they would not deny Christ.

In his own words we read of Galileo's discoveries. And Copernicus.' These two men changed our whole conception about the universe.

We can read the account of Patrick Henry, the famous Virginia patriot, as he declared at the risk of his own life: "Give me liberty, or give me death!" And we read in the Declaration of Independence what our forefathers thought about liberty as they signed that great document that begins, "When in the course of human events . . . ." And later much the same group of men began the Constitution of the United States with these words, "We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union . . . ."

Or by picking up another book and turning to the right page, we read the last words of Captain Robert Scott, the English Antarctic explorer, as he and his companions huddled together in their tiny tent just eleven miles away from safety. Together they died, but their words will thrill men for all time.

Or you may discover science, history, poetry, religion, and the world of what we call "fiction" from the printed page. How much poorer the world would be without Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Have you read them? Or who would want a world without Booth Tarkington's Penrod and Penrod and Sam?

Or suppose that every copy of Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales were destroyed? The world would be sadder without "The Ugly Duckling" and "The Little Tin Soldier."

It was in book form that the world first met Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol a century ago. Men will always love the story of Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, and Tiny Tim. Yet many boys and girls have never read the beloved Christmas Carol. Instead they use their God-given eyes to watch cheap and harmful television programs and read trashy comic books and magazines.

Have you ever read the life story of Daniel Boone, or Abraham Lincoln, or Woodrow Wilson, or Sir Alexander Fleming, or Christopher Columbus, or Louis Pasteur, or Thomas Alva Edison, or Jim Thorpe, the great Indian athlete? Why not?

Many boys and girls today say they don't have time to read. This is not so. They have much more time than boys and girls ever had in the history of the world.

It is not so much a matter of time as how we use our time. If you spend from one to four hours a day watching television, then you have little time left to read—to meet the great men and women of the world in books.

But if you choose, you can meet them all alone, there in your room or wherever you choose to close your mind to everything around, open a book, and start reading.

Practically all school learning past the fifth grade is achieved by reading. So by reading books you improve your school marks also.

Here they are, waiting for you to meet them. Right in your own school or community library are literally hundreds and hundreds of the world's great—what they did, what they said, what they wrote.

Want to know them? Just open a book.

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