“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

National Library Week, Day 3: Deborah Heiligman reflects on first grade and her elementary school library

Deborah Heiligman has published nearly thirty books to date on subjects ranging from bees to babies, chromosomes to Christmas, metamorphosis to mathematics and more, including From Caterpillar to Butterfly, the Celebrate Holidays Around the World series and Cool Dog, School Dog.  Her CHARLES AND EMMA:  The Darwins' Leap of Faith, published last year, has been honored as the Winner of the YALSA Excellence for Nonfiction Award, a Printz Honor Book, a National Book Award Finalist and a Los Angeles Times Book Award Finalist.
"I grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and going to the library was one of my favorite things to do once I could read. The library was downtown, it was big, and it had a huge children’s room filled with books. But my very first library memory is from my elementary school library. For some reason we weren’t allowed to check out books until we were in first grade. I had to wait a whole year to bring a book home! I will never forget that moment of walking into the library. I can still smell the wood of the books shelves, the smell of new pages, the smell of musty old pages. I was so excited, I just walked straight over to the first shelf and picked out the first book I saw. It was called What Is a Butterfly? It was my first non-fiction book.
When I took it home and my mom read it to me, the whole world opened up to me. I took it back the next day and got another book in the series, What Is a Tree? And then What Is a Frog? and then What Is a Plant? I was hooked. I was hooked on nonfiction. A few years ago I bought an old used copy of What is a Butterfly. Because that book, from my elementary school library, changed my life."


Deborah Sloan said...

As I was adding in Deborah Heiligman's comment for tomorrow, I accidentally pushed "post", so here you have it -- her reflection on school libraries one day earlier than planned! Lucky you...

Peaceful Reader said...

It is so wonderful to hear other people's stories of how the library influenced their childhood!

Clara Gillow Clark said...

I love your library story, Deb. For me,it was Bartholomew and the Oobleck, which I discovered on the single bookshelf at the back of the one-room schoolhouse. I was simply enthralled that someone had written a book for me.