Friday, February 22, 2013

Reading, Then & Now

Today, as part of the build-up to World Read Aloud Day, I'm going to finish some sentences about reading from the perspectives of both my 10-year-old (4th grade) self and my current grown-up self.

Sentence #1: I think everyone in the world should read...
10-year-old Amy: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. I loved the idea of having a Terabithia--a special, secret place to go. I remember scrunching up into a corner of my bedroom and pretending that I needed to use my hot pink electronic Dear Diary in order to access my secret hideaway. The password, of course, was "Terabithia."
Grown-up Amy: Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage. I especially think that everyone in the world should read this story aloud in order to enjoy the stylistically-perfect language as much as the quirky characters and captivating mystery.

Sentence #2: If I could listen to anyone in the world read aloud to me it would be...
10-year-old Amy: my cousin Stephanie. She lived in New York when I was growing up, which felt very far away from my house in Indiana. I loved when her family came to visit. Stephanie was very theatrical--she would write plays for all of us cousins to perform--and she was always talking about the books that she was reading. Hearing her read aloud would have been a natural combination of her aspirational literary enthusiasm.
Grown-up Amy: Neil Gaiman. I was so excited when my best friend Mike told me I could listen to Gaiman read The Graveyard Book online. Gaiman has one of those reading voices that can make the nutritional content of cereal sound magical, and I'd love to hear him read aloud from some of my favorite books.

Sentence #3: When I read aloud, my favorite character to impersonate is...
10-year-old Amy: Sister Bear from the Berenstain Bears books. We had a lot of these books in my house growing up, and when I was ten, I would still read them with my 7-year-old brother.
Grown-up Amy: the bear narrator from Jon Klassen's I Want My Hat Back. I love doing all of the voices in this book--a slow turtle, a confused what's-that-animal--but my favorite is the bear. I particularly like to say, in my best distraught bear voice, "My poor hat. I miss it so much." It always gets some giggles from listeners.

Sentence #4: The genre that takes up the most room on my bookshelf is...
10-year-old Amy: Newbery Award books. My mother was always happy to buy books for my brother and me, and our school's book orders included great, inexpensive paperback copies of Newbery winners and honorees. I had a great selection.
Grown-up Amy: Jane Austen books, both written by her and about her. I know, that's not really a children's librarian thing (although I do own the board book version of Pride and Prejudice!), but when all is said and done, Jane Austen books take up over 2 feet of bookshelf space in my apartment. I also own four different copies of Persuasion, my favorite Austen novel.

Sentence #5: The last book I wish I'd written or inspired me to write my own story is...
10-year-old Amy: The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg. I was absolutely enchanted by how all of the characters and narratives were woven together, and I was inspired to write my own story, also set at a trivia competition, in the same style. My story was three pages, I think.
Grown-up Amy: none. With all of the books that I've read, I have realized that creating stories is not a particular talent of mine. That's not a bad thing, and it doesn't make me sad at all. Instead, I am thrilled that I have a job that allows me to share the work of talented writers and storytellers with children.

Do you ever reflect back on what your reading life was like at different times in your life? I'd love to hear how you would have finished these sentences as a young reader!


This post is part of the World Read Aloud Day Blogging Challenge, which features weekly blog prompts leading up to World Read Aloud Day on March 6. Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks another WRAD Blog Challenge post and the details on the implementation of my library's WRAD program!


  1. Wow. You must be younger than I Thought! I had my MLS already when View came out! I adored L.M. Montgomery when I was ten, and Ellen Conford was a huge inspiration for my writing. I hate to read aloud almost as I hate to be read aloud to! Bad librarian, I know, but it's so sloooooooow!

    1. Haha, you're a fast reader, so that dislike makes sense. Isn't it fun to think back on our previous reading lives?


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