JANUARY 5, 1943
NEW YORK, Monday—This is January 5th, the day on which the Victory Book Campaign for 1943 starts. There is one thing which every one of us can do, no matter how busy we are. We can go through our bookshelves and send to the headquarters in our particular locality, the books which we feel will be enjoyed by the officers and men of the Army, Navy, Marines and Merchant Marine.
I found in Great Britain that the boys in the hospitals wanted every possible kind of book. Some of them were studying for special occupations, like radio and auto mechanics. Many of them wanted to know more about astronomy. Some of them even want to study geology. All of them need entertainment, and the detective or Western story, full of thrill and excitement, will take them out of the happenings of the moment, which may be difficult today.
Many of them are trying to learn something about the countries in which they find themselves, and so biographies, books of travel, historical novels, all books that are up to date, will be interesting to the men in our armed forces.
If each one of us does our best, this campaign will be a success, but unless each one of us contributes, there will not be enough books. If you were far away from home, books would be the things that would mean the most to you in your leisure time. So, think of those who defend us in camps, on ships and on fighting fronts all over the world, and let's get busy today and provide the biggest collection of Victory Books we have ever had in this country.
I am always interested in the little Christmas books, which are published every year. I was specially fortunate this year, because some friends in Texas sent me Hendrik van Loon's "The Message of the Bells," or what happened to us on Christmas Eve. It is a simple short narrative with charming illustrations and I am glad Dr. van Loon heard his "own" bells, for it must have given him hope for his Holland which he so dearly loves and has worked for during these years of her suffering.
Fannie Hurst sent me her little story of "White Christmas" in Washington. Into it she has woven the faith and hope of every American when a child is born. We pray that its chances for real opportunity and development shall be equal to those of any other child in this free nation of ours.
Last but not least, is Alexander W. Armour's "A Heart Warming Experience." I imagine the lesson he wants to convey is that nothing ever happens to any of us which we can not bear if we approach it in the proper spirit. Many of us may need to remember that in the course of the next few years.