Characters become friends

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 11, 2011

Editor’s note: This is the sixth in a series of short essays to encourage reading and celebrate Read Across America. Today’s essay is from Caryl Lee Jackson, children’s librarian at the Andalusia Public Library.

My mother’s favorite story to read to me as a child was always The Little Red Hen, (not my favorite) while my daddy always had stories of princesses. When I was in the fifth grade, my teacher, again my mother, Mary Wilson, held the class spellbound as she read Where the Red Fern Grows, every day after lunch. We all held our breath as the Little Ann and Old Dan treed coons and fought mountain lions. As a teacher I enjoyed reading Island of the Blue Dolphins to my students. As a librarian, I’ve enjoyed sharing The Berensteins’ B Book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and even Harry Potter with children and adults. As a mother I’ve run the gamut from Mr. Brown Can Moo, Where the Wild Things Are, to again Where the Red Fern Grows. When my boys held their breath and sniffled at the ending of that classic book, I knew that they had the same feeling I did in that fifth grade classroom years ago.

Reading catches your heart and spirit. When you close a book, it’s like saying goodbye to a friend. But, that friendship carries on for years, and hopefully, you’ll get to renew it by sharing it with another generation.