Where Our Love of Books Began

Mar 2, 2020
Compendium

March 2 is Read Across America Day, a celebration of our nation of diverse readers and the stories that bring us together. It’s an opportunity to recognize how books let us see ourselves in new ways and broaden our perspective of the world. In honor of this occasion, a few of our team members are sharing moments that inspired their love of books.

Reading vs. Recess
Annie B., Associate Sales Manager

“A really good book can be a friend, an adventure, a refuge. As a child I never left home with less than three books—always telling my parents it was in case of emergency.

On my first day of school, I realized I’d have to leave my cozy new classroom to play with strangers for half an hour. I pulled my teacher, Mrs. Beavers, aside and confidently told her I’d much rather spend recess in the library. When she realized I wasn’t joking, she happily let me—until an entire week had gone by and I hadn’t spent a single recess outside.

Mrs. Beavers thought it was time for us to have a chat. She told me that my love of reading was a wonderful thing, and to never lose it. But spending time with others was also important. Even though I pointed out that there were others in the library, she tried to explain that balance in life is necessary, and said it would mean a lot to her personally if I could try playing outside during recess. We eventually negotiated a half-and-half plan—fifteen minutes of recess, fifteen minutes of library. As I slowly made more friends, I spent more time at recess and less time in the school library. And once my mom heard what was going on, we started taking weekly trips to the local library.

Mrs. Beavers was one of those amazing teachers who not only encouraged students to speak up about their wants and needs, but actually listened—one of the most important things to a child. She made me proud of my love for reading and I am forever grateful for her!”

A Window to the World
Chau T., Operations Support Lead

As an elementary school kid, I loved reading, particularly about historic locations. I was the child of immigrants living on a farm in rural Florida. Being people of color in the South was not easy. My parents didn’t speak English, and they worked extremely hard to afford shelter for us. As a result, we never vacationed, and definitely did not travel to see places like Colonial Williamsburg, the Grand Canyon, or the Statue of Liberty. But books took me there. Reading about these sites was exciting because they were so vastly different from what I had seen.

To this day, whenever I visit a national park or historic location, I feel a sense of pride. It reminds me that I was able to go beyond the life just outside my childhood window. My love of reading helped me dream a different life, and gave me the knowledge to live it out.”

The Story of We
Kimberly G., Sales & Marketing Editor

For me, reading has always been about community. As children, my little brother and I loved to grab a few books and find our way to the backyard. Sitting in the grass side by side, we went on journeys together without leaving home.

During summer breaks, I found community through my local library’s summer reading challenges. Weekly, I’d race over to the children’s section to proudly find the decorative paper with my name on it and the star stickers highlighting the books I’d read. Just as special, though, was seeing my sheet among the many others—ones with the names of kids I knew from school, or from camp, or that I had never met at all. We were accumulating all these gold stars together.

As an adult, I still get excited about reading alongside other people. I’ve found my tribe in two women’s book clubs. Each month, I appreciate opening up a book and knowing there is a handful of friends getting to know the same characters as I am.

In my life, books are about connecting, community, and some awesome conversations—with myself, with loved ones, and with the world around me.”

Treasured Memory
Nancy C., Editorial Manager

I was born with a book in my hand and an older sister who put it there. At first, I just mirrored her relationship to the written word, but developed my own deep connection to books and reading along the way.

However, before I could actually read, I memorized. And as a little one was especially fond of getting to the big reveal in Tony’s Treasure Hunt when I got to recite the final page all by myself. It was there that Tony, along with his cat Growler, came to the end of their whirlwind hunt to discover the well-earned surprise—a big birthday party and cake!

Faux reading brought me such delight, even as I struggled to pronounce Growler. I am grateful that my family let me engage with the story in my own way, giving me a peek into the magic world of reading that set the stage for a lifelong love of books.

Even now, when I come across Tony in that dated, yellowed relic of a picture book, it’s like seeing an old friend.”

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Looking to excite a child’s imagination through reading? Explore our inspiring selection of children’s books here.