As I looked over my holiday gift list last week, it came to me that the best gift to give is one that will stay with the person for many years. If you’re anything like me, you adore special books like first editions and signed copies. When I decided to buy some wonderful Children’s books for my nieces and nephew, I was delighted that the author, Ursula Vernon, agreed to sign them for me. It then dawned on me the very first time I encountered a book that was personalized by the author.

gishbookWhen I was a child, my family visited my father’s boss on Christmas day. At the time, my father was a limo driver for stage actress Helen Hayes. We normally visited her on holidays, but this one particular Christmas a friend of hers, Lillian Gish, was also visiting.

Ms. Gish was very kind and  I am told that she loved holding me on her lap. My 6 older brothers and sisters most likely provided a lot of entertainment! Unfortunately I was only 22 months old at the time so I don’t remember this encounter, but knowing how my family has always been, I’m certain there was never a dull moment.

My father later received a book from Ms. Gish about her and her sister Dorothy. Inside, she thanked my father for taking care of her “blessed friend Helen” and hoped her book would “interest and amuse” us. Even though I was too young to remember that Christmas, I have always loved that book. I was amazed when my father gave me that book a handful of years ago to keep as my own. I will always cherish it.

There are so many ways to personalize a book. If you are an author, never forget that signing a copy of your book or leaving a personalized message can create a lasting impression.