The best gift I’ve gotten in life is a love of reading. My grandmothers passed it on to my parents, my parents to me, and me to our daughter. From my earliest memories I can still see the library in my grandparents’ home full of books. My favorites back then were comic books, (Popeye, Donald Duck, Buck Rogers, The Green Flash to name a few) but the shelves were full of Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys mysteries, Ellery Queen, Perry Mason, Sherlock Holmes, Little Women, Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, AA Milne, and a plethora of other books. On blustery Saturday’s I recall taking down a book, grabbing a blanket, and sitting by the warm fire immersing myself in my choice. My grandmother and mother would be reading too. No one spoke, we just read. Sometimes my mother would scold me when she would catch me finishing a spellbinding book under the bed covers with my trusty flashlight. I really think she was proud that reading was such a joy to me. In high school I still found time to read, sometimes staying up all night until I would finish the book. I still do that sometimes. My tastes in genres and my love for reading has never changed. Years later my mother, daughter, and I would repeat this memory.
My family favorites are mysteries and I warmly recall trading them with my mother as a young mother myself. But I also love historical novels and books about other cultures and communities. Our daughter’s friends thought it was odd that she didn’t have video games as a child. Our deal was we would buy her any book she wanted to read so she too would curl up with a favorite book. I remember the days of walking to the library to check out Babysitters club books and later the book store where we’d pick out a few and hurry home to start reading. Today her library is larger than mine and much more eclectic.
The love of reading has made us good readers; reading to learn is critical. Because I read a lot I believe I can learn anything I put my mind to. However, reading for fun is what I wanted my daughter and students at my school to value. Sometimes books teach us about our past, present and future. I learned a lot about the outdoors from Scrooge McDuck comics, like what poison oak looks like and that it grew down in our creek. The comics covered life lessons, science, problem-solving, trust, and mischief.
Each time we moved homes as a family we dragged boxes of books to the new home. It’s like having our friends with us. The bookshelves in our home are full. Today some of my friends are Kay Scarpetta, Alex Cross, Rita and Harry Decker, Eve Duncan, and Amy Underwood (the main character from the book our daughter wrote last year). Over Spring Break I plan on pulling out the newest books of some of my friends for the sheer pleasure of being entertained. In the staff lounge on 5th street there is a book case where you can borrow or share a book. I’ve shared a few of mine. I urge you to do the same. Go make your own new friends!
Dianna Carberry, Assistant Superintendent Leadership and Systems Innovation.
When she is not reading she is riding her bike, hiking, gardening, sewing or playing in the water. This year is her 39th year in education and this December she and her husband will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary.