When I was in middle school, my mother used to yell at me for reading. It sounds crazy, right? But sometimes she was right. (I won’t agree that she was right all the time!) In the days before cell phones and e-readers, I carried a book with me everywhere. Ok, sometimes more than one book. I am the oldest of six, so as a child I was always at someone’s basketball or soccer game. It was a way of life. But what middle schooler enjoys watching their siblings at practice? Boooring. So I brought my book(s) with me.
Those books meant I was far and away from the physical place where I sat. My mother told me I was anti-social. And maybe she was right. I remember her telling me that classmates walked by and said hello without any acknowledgement from me. I was sitting there, reading my book, and had no idea they had been there. I was in my own world. I was in my book’s world.
Those books transported me from the loud gym, the hot soccer field, the hard bleachers, to worlds all their own. It’s been many years since I was in middle school, but I can still list some of the books that I carried with me. (I was a big rereader). I read the entire The Complete Anne of Green Gables series multiple times. Instead of sitting in the cold gym, surrounded by the crashing of basketballs and the sounds of sneakers squeaking on the floor, I was sitting in a rowboat on the Lake of Shining Waters. I was with Anne, my kindred spirit, exploring Prince Edward Island. Those books had the power to transport me out of New Jersey and into Prince Edward Island.
I also love L.M. Montgomery’s lesser-known series, the Emily series. As a young tween, I stumbled upon two old books in my grandmother’s house. They were published in 1925 and 1927, and the romantic in me fell in love before I realized they were written by one of my favorite authors. I read and reread those two books over and over, for years. They connected me to my grandmother, and to the person who had owned them before her. Someday, I will pass them on to my own children.
Someday, those books, and those two girls- Anne and Emily- will hopefully be kindred spirits for the girls who come after me.
Someday, another young girl will find the two books in the picture. Maybe on an old bookshelf, or in a closet. Maybe in a trunk, or an attic.
And some other young reader will know the power of a book to transport one to another world. The power of a book.