book women

I was moved by The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson and was able to write about the connections it brought to mind. So I am excited that it will be the book we discuss at our book club this week.  Unfortunately we are meeting through Zoom – we postponed this book from last month, and still can’t gather in groups of more than 10, so we will make do. It will be nice to “see” everyone again.

The leader has given each of us a question to ask, so all can participate (such a good idea on her part – everyone getting to speak can be difficult with a large group online). The questioner can also answer the question if she would like, or let the group respond.  My question is this: How has a librarian or booklover impacted your life?

I will give my response at our meeting, but only briefly, because I’ll also be anxious to hear what others have to say as well.  However, this question has brought many thoughts to mind, so I’m sharing my complete answer here.

I’m sure my parents read to me when I was young, but I don’t have any memories of that.  I do have some old Golden Books from my childhood, so I know books were present. I also remember going to the old East Nashville Carnegie Library, but I don’t recall the librarians there.

My first “book woman” influencer (that I remember) was my fourth grade teacher, Evelyn Burns. Her classroom walls were literally lined with books.  She read to us, put us in groups to read and share books together, taught us how to use the library to find books we liked, and required us to do fun projects that evolved around books.  Thank you, Mrs. Burns!

Again, as a student, I don’t remember any school librarian having a big influence on me, but I had high school teachers that broadened my horizons in books.  Sarah Stamps never helped me fully see all the analyses of English literature (she tried!), but she did instill a deep appreciation of literature, even those English works written in faraway times and places. Because Mrs. Stamps was enchanted with these books and poems, she helped me love them too. Thank you, Mrs. Stamps!

In my college Children’s Literature class, Dr. Elinor Ross brought classic works written for children into my young adult mindset, and helped me see them with new eyes. And I discovered SO MANY great books! I have been a devotee of children’s literature ever since. The class project where I cataloged books and their themes was helpful to me as I began my teaching career. Thank you, Dr. Ross!

During my career I worked at six different schools and with ten different school librarians, and each one helped me help my students learn to love books. They each possessed different levels of enthusiasm and exhibited various methods of presentation, but I am grateful for each one. Children learned to appreciate the magic of the written word through their efforts, and so did I. Thank you, Brenda, Dolores, Nancy, Karen, Thresa, Teresa, Rachel, Alice, Amanda, and Heather!

The most important and meaningful book of all – the Bible – holds new information and lessons each time I read it.  When I participate in a Bible study group, I can read the Bible, read the study text, answer the questions, and pray – and STILL get more insight when our group meets together and discusses the lesson. I have been blessed with good teachers and leaders of Bible study throughout my life. Thank you, Yvonne, Beth, Vicky, Lisa, and Nancy – just to name a few!

Book Clubs have been a part of my life for a long time.  I have read books I wouldn’t have chosen myself, and I have finished books I might have abandoned if left to my own choices. (And most of the time I have been glad I did!) Now whenever I read any book, I feel like it’s not complete until I discuss it with someone. I am grateful to the organizers of these groups for bringing together readers to discuss what we read – and more importantly, to discuss life!  Thank you Peggy, Marcia, Ellen, and Mary Kay!

Sometimes it is those one-on-one conversations that mean the most. One of my colleagues and I learned together about balanced literacy and critical thinking – she as a classroom teacher and I as a reading specialist.  We would share insights and discoveries along the way.   I remember how we inferred about illustrations in the Sarah Stewart book, The Journey. When my friend moved into the reading specialist role at a different school we continued to meet and discuss – books, lessons, and life.  These breakfasts continue to this day. Thank you, Kim!

So many book women have made a difference in my life. I am thankful for each and every one.

4 thoughts on “book women

  1. You have given me such a special thing to reflect on, today – “book women.” This is lovely. Yes, my Aunt devoured books and talked about them with me lots…she probably got me started on being excited about books…hmm. Love this!

  2. franmcveigh says:

    Wow! Book Women! I had junior high teachers talk to me about books – a novelty! And that love grew exponentially.

    I wonder if smaller groups of your book group friends could meet. Two or three of you at the same site to share more first and then large group? Zoom fatigue is seeing only one face in each box!

  3. bjdonaldson says:

    Thank you for this slice…so much food for thought. It also reminds us to thing about and be grateful for all the people who have enriched our lives along the way. My second grade teacher, Miss Swiss, I think opened a new world to me by reading, Charlotte’s Web. That was in the days when Interactive Read Aloud was NOT a thing. Then, the librarian while I was in fifth grade encouraged me to read biographies. I read ALL the biography books in the library…and grew my background knowledge as well as my love for history. I don’t read as many biographies now, but I love historical fiction. Lastly, I, too, love THE book the Bible, and have read and discussed it with many friends in various studies. Thanks for reminding me to be grateful for the book ladies who built into my life!

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