’Twas the month of December, and up on the shelves,

What there caught my eye but a bevy of elves?

The children in bed – good lassies and lads –

Snuggled tight with their TVs and brand-new iPads.

While Mom at the monitor sat surfing the net,

On fantasy football, Dad placed a bet.

The elves on the shelves were gloomily pleading,

“What’s with this nonsense? Isn’t anyone reading?”

When up on the roof there came a loud sounding:

Things hitting the shingles and making a pounding.

I ran to the skylight and took a quick look.

It was jolly old Santa – with a bounty of books!

“Reading’s fun,” bubbled Santa. “It’s never a chore!”

Why don’t more Americans read books anymore?

Books take us places both foreign and near,

Teach readers ideas, make complex things clear.

Reading books takes Americans to new far-flung places,

Introducing our minds to countless new faces.

Many authors have shared a grand new creation

And challenged us all with true inspiration.

Take Rowling and Seuss,

E.B. White, Judy Blume –

Children’s books can easily fill up a room!

Good ol’ Lemony Snicket and a gent name of Stine –

The Berenstain Bears were favorites of mine.

So whether shopping in stores or browsing online,

Kindly give it your all to bear this in mind:

When you give kids a book,

It just keeps on giving.

Like a dog (but much cleaner),

It’s a gift that is living.

So as you’re “helping” Santa, parents, keep this in mind:

When the kids are wound up and need to unwind,

There’s no better place for children to look

Than inside the pages of a favorite book.

The net too much weakens, but books transmit might.

So happy Christmas to all – and to all a good night!

See a video of Dr. Kahn doing a reading here.

Dr. Joseph Kahn is president of Mercy Kids (mercykids.org), an expansive network of pediatric care dedicated to meeting the needs of every child, every day. We also suspect him of being a devotee of a gent named Moore.

Dr. Joseph Kahn is president of Mercy Kids (mercykids.org), an expansive network of pediatric care dedicated to meeting the needs of every child, every day.

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