Frustration Becomes Realization: Getting a Little Girl Excited About Books

By Hannah Brennan, Intern, Summer 2013

A rush of children flowed into the library, tables stacked high with books in all shapes in colors. The kids were full of energy and practically bouncing off the walls as they grabbed their green backpacks and rushed towards the mountains of books. Some children immediately grab an armful of books while others know precisely what they want and start rooting around for that one book that they just have to have. I noticed one little girl standing to the side holding her backpack loosely at her side, dazed and confused by the mass of books and exuberant 2nd grade children.

I walked over to her and asked her what kind of books she liked to read, hoping to unearth a hidden passion that she was simply too shy to proclaim like the other enthusiastic kids. In response, she merely shrugged and looked desolate. I decided to give her a few suggestions; many girls will latch onto the first princess or puppy book you show them and gain momentum from there.

This girl was different – no puppy, princess, truck, fairy, science, or action book would satisfy her.  I rooted through boxes picking up different books that looked great to me – personally I would have loved to sit there and read through all of them – but this little girl shook her head at each book.

After what felt like going through every single book in our boxes packed with thousands of books I finally picked up a book about a tug boat, desperate for anything that she might like that I hadn’t already attempted before. She paused for a minute, flipped a few pages, and agreed that she would finally take a book. Now we only had to get her nine more.

When I finally completed finding her ten books that she would read and enjoy, with the help of several other interns and volunteers, I sent her over to join her class on the carpet. I was tired and slightly disgruntled; this girl had been particularly difficult and had turned down some of my favorite book choices that I had dug up for her! As I turned to go find another kid to help, she tapped me on the leg, said “thank you” and hugged me tightly. All thoughts of being tired or unhappy with what I was doing instantly left my mind. I had made this girl excited about new books and that was all that mattered. She made my day and helped me realize that everything we do is so worth it because it’s all about making children excited to read and hopefully giving them a brighter future.