Third grade was my first experience with a library. Miss Catherine was ahead of her time because not many classrooms offered a “library”. Three narrow shelves filled with mystery, adventure, unique characters and new worlds hooked me into voracious reading. We were actually allowed to borrow the books and take them home. This was the year I met Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames, and Winnie the Pooh. This was the year I fell in love with reading.
In sixth grade, one of the most influential events of my childhood occurred. A public library opened within walking distance, very long walking distance, of my home. Every week or so, I would grab my pile of books to be returned and scurry the four blocks to Jane’s house. From there, Jane and I walked the two blocks to Debbie’s and then our trio traipsed another half mile to the library. It was worth the walk. We sauntered around examining one shelf after another. So powerful was this experience that I still remember exactly where the Louis May Alcott books, the Betsy, Tacy and Tib books, and the Little House on the Prairie books lived. I still remember that you were allowed to borrow up to six books and usually we did. I still remember the sense of anticipation I felt as I opened that library door. Good friends, good books, good conversation…no wonder reading became such a vital part of my life.
September is Library Sign-Up Month. As parents, you have the opportunity to open that door for your children. You have the opportunity to introduce them to a world of excitement and learning, peopled with characters and experiences that can broaden their horizons and empower them for the rest of their lives. If your children already have a library card, make this the year they will use it. If your children don’t already have their own library card, don’t deny them this privilege any longer. The power is in your hands. Let September be the month you give yourself and your kids the gift of belonging to the library and visiting it on a regular basis.
Book Recommendation for Today:
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes is a classic book published in 1941, whose message is as timely today as it was years ag0. Wanda Petronski is the victim of bullying by a group of girls in her class. Her funny name and claim to have a hundred dresses when she wears the same blue dress to school everyday, provide fodder for the subtle, but hurtful abuse she receives. Although it seems like this would only appeal to girls, the story hooks readers of both genders and is an excellent choice for a family read-aloud. The short text and riveting ending offer wonderful opportunities for discussion and make it an unforgettable read. The public library is sure to have this book…just saying! Happy reading.