Intentional Reading: the Power of Words

Intentional Reading: the Power of Words

The power of words cannot be overstated. Words can inspire, encourage or comfort us. Words spoken in love can make us feel seen and valued. Words spoken in anger can scare us or wound us deeply. Words can convey powerful emotions that can strengthen or destroy our connections with others.

In addition to expressing emotions, words and stories can convey information. They can educate us about places we have not visited and lives we have not lived. They can help us see from another person’s perspective – give us a glimpse of their journey and their wins and losses.

Just as we must choose our words carefully, with reverence for their influence on those they reach, we should also choose the stories we read carefully. Before selecting a book to read or gift to someone, take a moment to ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish. Do you want to laugh, cry or be inspired? Do you want to learn about a place, creature or time?

Sometimes when life is hard, I reach for a psychological thriller because I want a distraction. Sometimes I want to experience another lifestyle or culture, so I read a book that transports me to that world. Other times I want to read about someone who accomplished something despite challenges so I can be reminded of the resilience of the human spirit – to be convinced that I, too, can keep going when life is difficult.

When I wrote my first children’s book, If There Never Was a You, I felt nostalgic. I missed when my kids were small, and we were always together. I wanted to capture those moments that I cherished. I wanted my kids to know what those moments meant to me. I wanted my kids to feel loved and know that their lives matter – that they are unique and have a purpose.

Now I have the privilege of reading If There Never Was a You to children in schools, libraries and bookstores and bringing that same message to them – you are unique, and you matter. You are loved. You are here for a reason. I am so glad that parents, grandparents, aunts, adoptive parents – anyone who loves a child – can share this book with little ones to express these sentiments. It means everything to me that families make happy memories together reading my book.

The words we read affect our mood, our awareness of the world around us, our self-esteem and what we believe. That’s why it is important to be intentional about what we read and include diverse books in our libraries. Diverse books help us understand the experiences of others so we can be empathetic and supportive. It’s hard to be an ally to someone if you have no idea what their lives are like or what challenges they face. Making an effort to read, promote and gift diverse books is a way to help create the world I want to live in, where all people and their experiences are respected and valued.

Next time you need a book for someone or yourself, I hope you’ll think about what message you want that person to receive, and that you’ll choose accordingly. I hope you’ll make intentional choices about what bookstores, authors and voices you support. When you buy, read or gift a book, you cast a vote for the kind of world you want to live in. Choose wisely.


About the Author:

Amanda Rowe is a freelance writer, an academic administrator, an amateur chef, a travel enthusiast, a blogger and a book hoarder. She has published greeting cards, slogans, nonfiction articles and poetry. If There Never Was a You is Amanda's first children's book. Her second children's book, There Goes My Heart, is forthcoming with Familius in 2024.

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