Literary Extravagance

by Sara Legatt

IMG_0050 books
Kids, books, and animal hats: literary extravagance at its finest! Thank you to all local, indie booksellers. For always letting children sample the merchandise.

My family has a book problem. Our bookshelves are overflowing. So are the end tables by the couch. And the ottoman in front of the couch. And every single nightstand in the house. We know we have a problem, and yet we enable it. We live near a lovely little library and make regular trips to feed our reading habits.

This summer we were getting ready for a trip to a quiet cabin and made a trip to a gigantic library a bit farther from home instead. By gigantic I mean Titanic-sized. Unsinkable, even with my family raiding its shelves.

We stuffed our library bags with a vacation-style haul and were making our way to the checkout when a man walked past. He caught sight of our stash and grumbled, “Save some books for the rest of us, would you?”

Our bags suddenly transformed from routine vacation prep to overkill. We were teaching our children to be greedy with literature, which was certainly a horrible thing. Right?

Not according to a 2010 study out of the University of Nevada. Researchers found that the number of books in a child’s home has a profound impact on his or her educational level. Children with 500-book home libraries work, on average, 3.2 academic years ahead of children without access to books at home. Researchers concluded that one of the simplest ways to help children succeed academically is to flood them with books.

So we continue to say yes at the library. Our bookshelves sag and the handles are ripping off our library bags, but it is for the best.

Literary extravagance: bad for the back, good for the children.

1. University of Nevada, Reno (2010, May 21). Books in home as important as parents’ education in determining children’s education level. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2013, from


Sara Legatt lives in Minnesota with her husband, three young children, and one clumsy cat that thinks it is a dog. Sara has a B.A. in Elementary Education, has worked for more than a decade as an Early Childhood Educator, and is a Piano Teacher to the best students in the world. Sara currently writes middle grade novels and picture books. She can be found at

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