Are Books Like Children?

We’ve already established our pets are like children. But what about books? If you’re not a reader, then you might want to skip this week’s article. But if you are, then let’s get into it!

As an author, I appreciate reviews (more on that in my next article). Recently I wrote a review for a trilogy about World War II. It went something like this: “This book series reminded me of raising children. I became fully vested, all in, as I grew attached. I took them everywhere! I mourned when some characters left me, and I cheered as others stayed, growing and maturing. As I came to the end of our daily personal relationship, I became sad. Yes, I could visit them from time to time, but it wouldn’t be the same. Like children, this series exhausted and rejuvenated me with the twists and turns and satisfying resolutions. Some characters didn’t get a happily ever after, and my mom heart grew heavy when that didn’t happen. But this author’s books are like life, and our children don’t always get happy endings.”

That got me to thinking—do I really consider books to be like children? Like my children? The answer is yes, I kind of do. I stand by my review!

We choose our books, usually based on recommendations from friends or outside expert sources. Most times we don’t choose our children. But once the books come home with us, that’s when the comparison begins.

I have a special basket for my TBR books on my coffee table. In case you’re unfamiliar, TBR stand for To Be Read. It’s a gathering of the books I’ve purchased but haven’t read. It’s a special place, right in the middle of our busiest room. My TBR books stick together, patiently waiting their turn. They watch television with John and me, hang out with the dogs, become familiar with their new home while they wait. Rebel somehow knows these books aren’t for chewing. Actually, none of our books are for chewing, but she leaves my TBR pile alone. We treat children like this, don’t we? They’re cared for, protected, but they’re right in the thick of things. They wait their turn, until they’re old enough and it’s time for them to spread their wings. That could be sports, music…whatever is their passion.

When it’s time, my chosen book goes in the drawer of the end table by my couch (I don’t trust Rebel that much!) During my allotted reading time I only have eyes for my book. That also reminds me of children—when we spend time with our kids, we are all in. Or we should be—we should sink our hearts into that precious time, because it doesn’t last forever.

All too soon, I finish my book, but I can’t get rid of it. Not just yet, anyway. I place it on my bookshelf in the bedroom, above the reach of Rebel. I glance lovingly at my shelves, because they hold so many precious memories. And all too soon our children grow up, ending the chapter of their childhood. But we aren’t ready to let go completely—not just yet. We keep them close, with phone calls and photos in our homes. We welcome visits and try to return the favor, recalling our favorite memories while also making new ones.

Yes, I think it’s true—books are like children. Of course, I don’t have to feed them or teach them how to drive. And I’m extremely thankful for that.

Jann Goar Franklin graduated Russellville High School in 1989. You can reach her at