One of my favorite childhood memories is that of my mom reading a book while cooking. She'd read and stir soup and the same time, no problem. She had a thing for historical romance novels--I probably should not have read some of the passages in those books. I grew up in a time where watching TV was fun, but choice was limited. I wore glasses, had short hair and perpetually skinned knees. I spent about half my time playing outside by myself, and the other half inside a library. My mom once told me that I had been a hilariously awkward child--thanks a lot mom.
I had a few friends, but books were my best friends. I'd ride my bike to the nearest library, about 5 miles from where I lived. I'd take home dozens of books in my bike's basket. Comics, non-fiction, classics...my pretentious eight-year-old self was super-convinced that I should read Homer's The Odyssey...that didn't go well and I returned to Calvin and Hobbes.
The library was my second home. I never felt alone, reading fantasy, mystery, science fiction stories. I loved The Neverending Story, wished that I too could become part of the book itself. Books enriched my childhood, made me dream and wonder and curious and brought me hours of joy. Books kept me company when I otherwise would have felt alone. I still have books that I re-read for a sense of comfort and calm. That's why I love books.
And if I can somehow transform my love of books into my writing--bringing kids joy and making them giggle--then I've made a very, very, very small contribution to raising the next generation of readers.
And what's more joyful than that?! :)
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