As I was walking past the new books display at the library tonight, I noticed a boy, perhaps ten years old, shifting from one foot to the other, staring at the books. I asked him whether I could help, and he replied, "No, I am just looking at the new travel books." At his height, his head was level with the fourth shelf up, where there were twenty or so new editions from Fodor, Frommer, Lonely Planet, and other publishers. "They are fun to look at," I said. He agreed. I asked whether he had seen the older books in back, and he said that he had. I walked away and let him browse.
Several minutes later I saw him pass carrying as many books as he could. I could not see all that he had, but on top were Eyewitness Travel Guides to Portugal, Holland, and Switzerland.
Before anyone says, "Of course, he took the books with the pictures," let me say that I like to start with those, too. I like colorful photos from foreign lands. I like beautiful and dramatic landscapes, portraits of the people, and pictures of buildings, statutes, and streetlife. He made good selections.
This boy with his dreams of far away places is one of our people. We are here for him.