When I call the library “my happy place,” I'm not exaggerating! I absolutely have discovered my home away from home among the young adult (YA) books that populate our shelves. Whether I’m helping students find books or tweeting about books or winning books…it’s an excitement I find hard to contain. Reading books is one thing, but talking about them with others means that I can share a piece of my happy place. I feel so blessed that this is my job.
Finding the book that brings a student back for another is a highlight of my daily librarian life. Just Monday, a student asked for a book similar to The Night She Disappeared by April Henry (which I had suggested last week). Yes! I scanned my mental card catalog of go-to genres and offered up two other April Henry books that were available. Later, another student excitedly told me she'd finished Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn and was ready for Revenge, Ice Cream, and Other Things Best Served Cold (book number two). While book-talking wonderful new advanced reader copies that are part of our Little, Brown Young Reader Faculty Lounge, I suggested Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham for any fans of historical fiction. I proceeded to suggest other YA historical fiction titles, such as Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (which was met with oohs and ahhs, and "I got her new book for Easter!"), Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, and Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. Seeing students' eyes light up as they listen attentively, ready to jump at the chance to read a new book that I’ve helped them find, is exhilarating and makes my happy place even happier.
Even better, my happy place doesn’t have to be confined within the library walls. I can talk about books 24/7 on social media. Although I mostly tweet about books I'm reading to authors and publishers, never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be communicating with them! Saying that a little red notification next to my Twitter icon creates a euphoric reaction might be an overstatement, but for me, this interaction is the equivalent of being starstruck in Hollywood. The fact that authors read my tweets—even respond to them—is simply mind-blowing. I'd almost, yes, almost, equate it to sharing a love of books with my own children.
Thankfully, my children have a similar level of passion for books so my love of books doesn’t stop when I go home for the day. Nothing beats curling up for a nap or bedtime story, especially to classic favorites like Corduroy by Don Freeman, There's a Nightmare in My Closet by Mercer Mayer, and anything by Dr. Seuss or the Berenstains. Reading contemporary childhood staples (like The Magic Treehouse series) allows us both the joy of discovering new favorites. Engaging students and conversing virtually with authors is a dream fulfilled, but fostering a love of reading with my children in my lap is truly my happiest place.
[Shout out for librarians: If you are looking for a book to find your happy place, ask your librarian. Many of us are happy to recommend a list of books we have read (or those that we have heard about). And if we (okay, I) don't remember the amazing book we recently finished, thank goodness there's Goodreads!
Shout out to Mrs. Manchester’s classes: Thanks for inspiring me to journal and begin this blog. You’re never too old to learn something new!