Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

Their grandmother loved to read, so this family keeps her memory alive by leaving gifts inside books

Barbara Longova passed on her love of reading to her son, daughter, and three grandchildren, and when thinking of ways to honor her after she died unexpectedly, it just made sense to the family that they go to the bookstore.

Like she did when her own kids were young, Longova would take her grandchildren to pick out books before Christmas, then wrap them and put them under the Christmas tree. When Longova died in November 2015, her daughter, Nicole White, told Today they couldn't imagine this tradition coming to an end, so they came up with an idea: To honor Longova, the family would place $5 bills in random books, along with a note explaining it was in memory of their beloved "Oma," who instilled in them her love of reading. The note encouraged the person who found the money to use it to buy a book of their choice.

Andrew Crochunis found a $5 bill and note at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Longova's favorite bookstore. After he read the note, he saw "a glimmer of light. Someone's grandmother understood the importance not only of learning and reading, but of giving that gift to others." Susan Kehoe, a managing partner at Browseabout Books, told Today she's noticed something special: Almost every time a customer discovers a $5 bill, they pay it forward and leave it in another book for someone else to find.