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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Warm Enthusiasm

On this chilly winter afternoon, I headed down the block for a walk with a friend. With my woolly hat covering my ears, I wondered if I'd really heard a tiny voice call out my name. I did! Over a tall snowbank, my three-year-old neighbor boy appeared from the fort he and his dad were digging. I asked this rosy-cheeked boy about his Christmas celebration and what his favorite gift was this year. With no prompting from his dad, he said with a bright smile, "That book from you." That book was a signed copy of Minnesota's Hidden Alphabet with text by David LaRochelle and photographs by Joe Rossi. I told him it made my heart feel warm to know he loved it so much.

Last week when I took the gift to their house, he opened the book and immediately found the C (an antler) for his and his dad's name, the B (painted turtle shell) for his little sister's name, and the M (Norway pine bark) for his mom's name. His mom asked me why I always give them a book for holidays. After all, I do not know them other than to wave when we pass on the street. I explained that giving books is one of my missions in life. I love the delight in people's faces as they view the pages or read passages. I love their stories of sharing books with others. My reading life extends beyond the story steps of the school library and into my neighborhood, my favorite independent bookshop, my friendships, and of course, my family. And I'm always rewarded with how books are received and appreciated.

11 comments:

  1. I am so glad you are doing this! You have such a passion for books and literacy. You have such a wealth of knowledge to share with others. Your passion and excitement for books is such a gift to education and readers! You continue to amaze and inspire me, my friend!

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  2. So glad you are blogging, Julie! You have so many insights to share with us. I hope you tell us lots of stories about how kids connect with books, and why.

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  3. This is a 'jewel' of a post. I look forward to future musings and story telling from you. Minnesota's Hidden Alphabet is a treasure of a picture book and a perfect way to begin your blogging adventure with us. Enjoy this experience. I know the rest of us will learn so much by 'looking over your shoulder'!

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  4. I like the idea of others "looking over my shoulder" into library life and literacy. With all the press about how librarians are not necessary, I hope to share stories about why it matter so much to readers to have a librarian in their lives.

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  5. Julie. I got goosebumps reading this. In my next e-newsletter can we announce it?

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  6. I'd be honored to have you announce it with your e-newsletter, Debra!

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  7. I finally found a moment to peep into your new blog Julie. Lovely first entry! It inspires me to do the same in my neighborhood-- I would love nothing better than to be known as the "Book Lady" and there are many ready young readers nearby. What a revolution this could become if we all gave books to our young neighbors for the holidays! Thanks for the inspiration!

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  8. "That Library Lady" is what I'm usually called at school :) But yet, the neighborhood kids know they will get books from me. Besides candy, most got Rick's BIG BROWN BAT for Halloween!

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  9. What a wonderful story and book, Julie! I hope you pointed out David's dedication. I look forward to reading more entries.

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  10. I am deeply honored to have one of my books featured in your first blog, Julie. I'm also touched by the story of your young neighbor who thought Minnesota's Hidden Alphabet was his favorite Christmas gift - that anecdote was a gift to me. Thank you.
    I always find your thoughts about books and reading insightful, and I look forward to hearing about your latest book adventures in this new venue.

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  11. I am so pleased about that dedication, Mike, and as David wants me to share it with others, I've been doing so with pride!

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