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I’m grateful for parents who gave us new books every Christmas, no matter how the farm was doing.

I cherished my sets of Cherry Ames, Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys (shared with all-boy cousins), as they grew from one Christmas to the next.

I’ve try to play those gifts forward by giving books to nieces, nephews, and godchildren.

Humbled after meeting little ones at a Dickensian orphanage in Afghanistan, Hadi and I hit every store in Kabul, seeking books. There were few shops then that had not been bombed; we found a stall with handmade books and bought everything.

My heart still swells with gratitude, remembering the taxi, weighed down with dozens of homemade, secondhand and new books donated by international journalists in Kabul at Christmas.  We, the world’s privileged, were the orphans’ neighbors.

I cannot forget the children’s joy at seeing the books, nor their tiny hands reaching to touch us and the driver.

Giving books gives me as much joy as the recipients, I’m sure.  Likely more joy.

So when I’m not close to the book lovers I love, I support The Literacy Site.  I support it by clicking every day, helping to buy books for children in the U.S. and Canada.

Can one person make a difference without spending a cent?  Yes.

All those daily clicks buy books:  2.7 million since the site began in 2004.

Many of those go to children reading their very own book for the first time.

Remembering Christmas mornings on a farm near Toronto, I can assure you there is no better gift.