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To Save Time

Editorial by Jennie D. Lindquist

As I write this 1956 is just ending. There is much on the radio about the Hungarian refugees who have come and are coming to this country, and I am wondering what 1957, their first year in America, will mean, particularly to the children among them. What do we want it to mean?

I am reminded of something that happened in a children’s room where I had a reading club of little girls who lived in a poor tenement district. We met one evening a week to read aloud books that were worth sharing. One evening Olga said to me, “My mother says to tell you she thinks it is so nice for us to have this club because we not only have fun but we also learn interesting things.” “That’s right,” said Julia, “and besides, it helps us to save time.”

The other children were ready to correct her at once. “You don’t mean save time,” they said. “You mean pass time.” “No,” Julia insisted, “I mean save time.” “You can’t mean that,” said Hazel, “it doesn’t make sense” “It does too,” said Julia, and when I asked her to explain, she began slowly,

“Well, you know there are some times in every day when you are doing things you don’t care if you ever think of again or not. But there is some time when you are doing things you love so much that you want to save that time in your mind and think of it over and over. And this time when we read good books together I like to save so I can think of it for always.”

It was to me a new interpretation of the phrase “save time” and it seems a very good one to think about now not only with our own children but also with the little ones who must make a new home here. Along with food, clothing and shelter, they will unavoidably get a great deal in the way of shoddy entertainment — mediocre books, comics, poor programs on radio and television and in the movies. Yet, we do not want all this to be their only impression of America.

We have so much that is better to offer them. Any adult who will take time to share lovingly and joyfully our good stories and pictures, the best recordings of music and the fun of nature and the out-of-doors, will be giving these boys and girls something that will mean quite as much to them as material things, something that can help to make 1957 for them a rich year with time in it “to save for always.”

From the February 1957 issue of The Horn Book Magazine

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