Wednesday, January 18, 2017

1969: The Astronauts' Reading Club

It’s the summer of 1969. While man is walking on the moon, I’m enjoying playing outside with my sister and reading lots and lots of books. I was a voracious reader. I read everything I could get my hands on. The library was my best friend.

This particular summer I participated in the local library’s reading club, called The Astronauts’ Reading Club. If kids read 5 books, they got a badge, 10 books they got a certificate AND their name in the paper! Who knew you could get your name in the paper for reading books!

Ten books was pretty easy peasy for me. I’m sure I read many more than that this summer between 4th and 5th grades. I looked at the list of books I read: three Freddy the Pig books (I honestly don’t remember these at all, but I know I liked pigs); two Great Mouse Detective books (those I do remember, I had a thing for books with mice), The Horse and His Boy (part of the Chronicles of Narnia series), and several others.

I don’t really know what sparked my interest in books. Perhaps it was being read to as other Type Mers noted in their posts. I’m sure I was read to, but I honestly don’t remember anything specific. All I know is that I was always fascinated by books. There’s a wonderful picture of me and my sister sitting side by side on the couch, reading. I use the term “reading” very loosely when it comes to me. Being almost 4 years older than I am, my sister actually knew how to read but, at 3, I was just looking at the pictures, imitating my big sis.

The most vivid memory of early reading for me was in kindergarten. Back in the stone ages, you learned your alphabet in kindergarten and learned to read in first grade. I remember looking through a book and being very angry that I couldn’t read the words on the page. I mean, really, really angry! I wanted to know what those three little pigs were doing! I knew the words told the tale and were very, very important, but I couldn’t yet read them. That fueled my eagerness to learn to read more than anything else. By the time first grade rolled around, I was off and running, reading well above my grade level in no time.

Reading has given a lot to me. I’ve visited foreign places, relived historical events, had great adventures and solved mysteries alongside Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew. I can’t imagine not being able to read or not having access to books.

Even though reading has been a large part of my life, I never really thought I’d be a writer. But I’m glad I took the leap of faith and started writing stories. Even though it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, it’s also given me a lot.

P.S. My third book, A Palette for Murder, officially releases January 31st. To celebrate I’m having a launch event, Sunday, February 5, 2017, 3:30-5pm at the Manhattan Beach Library in Manhattan Beach, CA. Stop by if you’re in the area and help me celebrate!

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