Be warned! Attending conferences puts you at risk for having your heart captured at any moment. Perhaps by an author, by a librarian, by an illustrator, by a first-time attendee, or even by some stranger you meet on the streets of a city. I’m accustomed to feeling the heart strings tugged at my school. Small children and their passionately-committed teachers have that power. Are you prepared to be snared by authors?
While waiting for a bus at ALA I struck up a conversation with a stranger. (If you read my articles, you can see I practice what I preach.) Today I received an email from her indicating she had been inspired to begin blogging because of our conversation on how to merge writing with librarianship. Her new blog LearningReads has just one post "The Author Who Burgarlized My Heart" but she does mention one of my favorite books from this past year The Book Thief by the incredible author Markus Zusak. From Markus Zusak’s website he writes:
"In one moment, there was great kindness and great cruelty, and I saw it as the perfect story of how humans are. When I remembered those stories, I wanted to build them into a small book, like I said. The result was The Book Thief, and it came to mean much more to me than I could have imagined. No matter what anyone ever says about that book, whether good or bad, I know it was the best I could do, and I don’t think a writer can ask for more of himself than that."
When I was young I saw two horses walking with blinders on. My grandmother explained the purpose of these as "some horses panic when they see everything and they need help focusing on just taking the next step." Sometimes we need blinders. My friend Allison took my hand and told me to close my eyes so she could lead me out of a large meeting room before I was distracted by any of my other friends in the room. I had somewhere I HAD to be and needed to focus upon getting there instead of experiencing random moments of exhilarating friendship. Sometimes we have tasks to do that may bring controversy but we must stay focused on the end result and ignore the nay-sayers while we work.
Other times we need to remove our blinders and help others to see that they have been blinded. When it comes to seeing the world around us, we all wear blinders. Unfortunately these come off one tiny piece at a time and often through the books we read and with the people we interact. If you have read The Book Thief, your eyes may have been sent in a new direction that you didn’t even know was there. Your vision will have changed. If you only read the first few pages and didn’t understand what the buzz was about, read this blog post by Stefanie to see why you must read beyond 30 pages. You owe it to yourself to give this a try.
Good books and good authors help direct your eyes to new views. Here’s hoping that today you experience a moment of vision.
Be sure to tell me which books have most inspired you this year. I don’t care what category they are in: children’s, nonfiction, YA, adult.