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When I was 9 years old, I remember the thrill of leaving my classroom and heading down the short hallway to the library. My third grade teacher was uninspiring. She was more concerned with organizing her pencils and sucking on lasengers than engaging with her students. But I knew that three times a week, I would be transported away by the energetic words of Mrs. Schwabe, E.M. Baker’s school librarian.
Now, I wasn’t in love with her — that was reserved for the pig-tailed girl who lived three houses down from me, but the stories she told have stayed with me since those days collected in a circle, on the rug, looking up at her sitting in her big wooden chair. William Steig’s “Sylvester and the Magic Pebble” still holds a special place in my heart. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle, with its different shaped pages, is as vivid now reading it to my own three year old daughter as it was then. I’m not sure if those morning trips to the book-filled walls of Mrs. Schwabe’s domain turned me into the author I am today, but she certainly inspired my love of reading.
Now, I’m excited to think how school librarian’s across the country, the gatekeepers of imagination, will be sharing The Familiars — yeah, my book! — with third, fourth, fifth, and sixth graders — as librarians read the first words: “It all started with Aldwyn’s whiskers beginning to tingle…” I wonder if children will be transported the way I was.
Adam Jay Epstein
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
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