My son is on the city swim team and doesn’t drive yet so I spend a lot of time sitting at the pool. Yes, I could go home but I only do that if I have a deadline. Otherwise I sit and watch and chat. I had the coolest experience last week.
One of the younger swimmers was showing me all the stuff in her backpack. In the front pocket where it would stay safe and dry, a huge deal at the pool, she had a library book. I tend to ask kids about books because I want to know what they’re reading but I hesitate with this girl. She’s had some problems reading and, although she’s improved greatly, I don’t want to risk bringing up a sore subject. But she brought it up so I felt free to prod.
“This is the best book!” All I caught was the flash of an orange cover.
“What is it?”
“The first book in the Buddy Files.”
“Seriously? I know the author. She’ll be so happy to know you like her book. What’s your favorite part?”
“I don’t have time to tell you. See, I’m on chapter 9 out of 10 chapters. I have to go request the next book.” Off she trotted to the library next door to do just that.
Wow. Of course, I came home and put a message on Dori’s Facebook wall. I just had to let her know because this is one of the best things about being a writer — sharing your stories with young readers. It is especially amazing when you hook a kid who may not be a natural reader.
This is why it is important to write for the kid that you were. Somewhere is a kid waiting for a book that they can connect with. You know the one — the book that they want to read again and again. For me, that was the Boxcar Children. I didn’t read the later books until I was an adult, but I read book 1 so often that I thought of our school copy as mine.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a book that is almost done and somewhere out there is a kid who needs it.