Librarians and teachers devise many creative activities and incentives to encourage reading among school children—contests and prizes, charts of progress and gold stars, puppet shows, plays and parties all to make reading fun and interesting. Of course, bookmarks play a role as small prizes and mini-teachers of book etiquette. They may possess more power than we thought, as we learn from Jeffrey Edel, a semi-retired woodworker (and voracious reader).
He lives in Bryson City, North Carolina, USA, a small but beautiful town, which as he notes is “tucked up against the Tennessee border amidst the Blue Ridge Mountains.” He used to live in Jacksonville, Florida where he met his friend Karen, an elementary school librarian. She dresses up as the Book Fairy and has had success in getting young children inspired to read by using the bookmarks he makes - her magic wands! Jeffrey says she is “astoundingly creative” and also works with the Scholastic Book Fair program.
More durable for children than paper, the bookmarks Jeffrey makes are from all types of salvaged wood including oak, poplar, black walnut, cherry or whatever he has saved from his years as a woodworker. He adds bits of broken jewelry, coins, watch fobs, jewelry pieces or whatever might make them interesting and ornamental. When asked if he makes them for sale, he said, “They are meant to be encouraging gifts and if someone wanted one I would try to accommodate them if possible.”
Jeffrey would like to hear from our members — “who better than the experts” — on ideas and feedback for improving his designs. He would also like to know of other initiatives to inspire children to read using bookmarks. Please respond by making a comment below or to the webmaster and we will be sure they get to Jeffrey.
And the next time you use a bookmark, think about its magic powers!