Wednesday, June 29, 2011
A place to bust open the world
Today Chucky & Elana, my "adopted" grandchilden, used their very own library cards for the very first time. They kept repeating the question: "Everything in the library is FREE?" I thought they might be blasé about the experience, but their excitement level kept growing.
I helped them sign up for the summer reading program, which I thought was a bit cumbersome and kind of odd this year. But they're INTO IT. They got a "passport" where each page features a different continent. They have to complete squares on each page to earn a prize. Today we completed squares with questions about South America. Both kids won a whistle (sounded like wounded water buffalo) and a free ticket. Elana chose a free zoo pass and Chucky chose a free pass to a bull-riding show. Won't his dad be thrilled to learn he's supposed to take his son there?!?
Chucky gobbled up books as if they were candy. Subjects: dinosaurs, rocks & minerals, "Star Wars," and tornadoes. I never knew he loved science. The librarian helped Elana find a mystery chapter book. Both kids were ELATED.
When I was nine like Elana, my library was the City of Milwaukee BOOKMOBILE. I can still feel the feeling I got when I stepped inside its rarefied atmosphere. I can see the books on the shelves. I can remember the tingle when I looked at the spines of the adult books, which I was NOT allowed to check out. It was the beginning of an adventure that opened worlds to me.
May the adventure live on.