I don’t remember story time, but my mother tells me she took me every week when I was growing up and it was a highlight of the week for me. I do remember being in elementary school and breaking away from my classmates hovering around the grade-level appropriate books and looking at the books for kids anywhere from one to three years older than myself. I remember the grandmother-ly librarian who reached down to the Henry novels and introduced me to Misty of Chincoteague. I ran quickly through the entire series of books, even reading one of her novels not taking place off the coast of Virginia but in the depths of the Grand Canyon.
Later, having run through everything “girl appropriate” in my small elementary school’s library, I turned to my dad for direction. My dad was the reader of my parents while we were growing up, and I figured if someone could get me my next series of books that person would likely be him. He took me from the female child appropriate fiction of ponies and into a land of dragons and music. The first book he placed in my hand then was Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsong. I read quickly through this, finishing its sequel in less time than the book’s seven days covered. Being the parents that mine are, I got to finish reading all the books McCaffrey had published at the time – meeting strong women like Lessa and learning about sex in very abstract terms.
I learned about the science in the paranormal as I continued reading McCaffrey’s novels, giggling over the date having been passed but no evidence showing of these people existing yet. I tried to get to read the leaders of science fiction (RAH, JRRT) but could not finish the Hobbit and wasn’t allowed to touch Friday. Eventually, I started choosing my own books and found Mercedes Lackey, Robert Jordan (who I still despise), Tad Williams, David (& Leigh) Eddings and George RR Martin. Sometimes I go more towards the fluff of the romance entwined in fantasy, other times the gritty realism of war in a world not quite like ours can capture me for days.
What prompted all this is an interview on GeekDad of Nathan Fillion on Why Kids Need to Read.
I haven’t been in a school library since I left middle school. Any time I needed to do research, I went to the local public branch for a better selection and was usually too involved to actually have time at school to go research. The idea that libraries in schools are being decimated scares me. I had involved parents, I plan to be involved in getting the Gummi Bear into reading…but not every child is so lucky. One of my girlfriends recently told me that she’s not worried for us putting our daughter in public schools because we read and are likely to get our children to do so as well. Granted, reading won’t solve everything, but it does open many a door.