As it is a time of giving (btw, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the States) I was thinking about presents.
As a kid, I loved getting a new doll (or Barbie) and/or chocolate (dark with hazelnuts) - but I even loved more to receive a book. My dad promised me to buy me one every time I had a good report at school (for him that was more than 90%). We got a report weekly in primary school, and I used to have an average of 98% so you can guess how many books I got!
Books were a world of wonder to me. They made me aware of lots of things. I remember my teacher of year 4 (I was ten at the time) asking my mother however I came to the notion of describing a trip to Hong Kong for a writing task. Most kids went to the seaside in those days, but I dreamed about travelling the world already. We did travel too, and often I know most things from reading about them already.
For me, the best present was to receive a book. Also now, when somebody asks me what would make me glad, I answer: books! I'm ever so happy when I receive an Amazon GC, so I can buy one or two new books on my list.
When I was older I began to read books written in English. I became aware we did not learn enough of English at school and so I needed to broaden my vocabulary. At first I did not understand a lot when reading an entire novel and often had to look up words. By now, English feels as Dutch and I only read in this language.
Reading also gives you an understanding of other cultures and traditions. When everybody would read books, there would not be so many problems in the world.