John loved to talk about China and America and told everyone that one day he would go to those lands. He always had something new to tell his friends and a new game to play each day. John always did well in school and his mother was very proud of him, and so were all the neighbors. John's father had died in hospital when he was very young. Poor John silently wished he could have heard at least one word from his father before he died.
When John's mother went to the hospital the day after John's father died, the nurse gave her a little book and told her that John's father had said she must give it to John as soon as he learned to read. She kept the book safely in a drawer and gave it to john on his sixth birthday. John was now almost twelve years old. Nevertheless, his mother wondered why John was always reading books and never had much time for television. John's father had only given him one book, why did he have to read so many? John kept his dads book at his bedside and never let anyone touch it.
One day, when John was out playing with his friends, his mother decided to find out what the book was all about. She thought it held a secret that might help her understand John's behavior. She crept into his room and picked up the book and quickly turned the pages. She read almost half the book, but came across nothing special, clever, interesting or amazing. Just as she was about to put the book down and go back to her cooking, an old crusty yellow piece of paper fell to the floor. She picked it up and was about to throw it away when she looked at the handwriting more closely. She was so shocked by what she read that she slowly sat down and began to cry. She knew that handwriting. She loved the writer very much, but it was not Johns hand writing. The hurriedly written words on the faded piece of hospital paper read – Dear John, read this book and every other book you can find. Love Dad.