Reading has many benefits. The obvious one is learning and making us smarter. Books also provide us with something that we might not think of, emotional support. At the Thanksgiving dinner table my Uncle Lou told me about a book he had just finished called Rust by Jonathan Waldman. I immediately thought reading that book would be about as fun as watching paint dry. He spoke about many interesting facts about rust and how much he had learned. He continued to talk about how he was reading this book while the election was progressing. He said that it was taking his mind off the election and helping him to focus on something else. Author Kate DiCamillo was in Orlando not long after the Pulse Nightclub shooting she didn’t know what to do. She said, “Right now we need stories more than ever.” Children can learn to identify with characters no matter their age. Taking the time to read with our children will not only help their reading skills, comprehension and vocabulary, but it will strengthen their emotional IQ as well. Stress is common this time of year. The holidays can be tough. Parents may be thinking about the additional bills for gifts, winter coats, food etc. Some families struggle with the loss of a job. Children can feel the stress the adults are suffering. Books are a way to relieve that stress no matter their age. Remember to use your public library as a free resource. Reading books during and before the holidays as a family can produce long lasting memories as well as reduce stress.