Last Thursday I participated in Children’s Book Week by attending a middle school in the area and sharing my love of reading. The librarian at the school, which is in a very depressed area, found local people to come and read parts of their favorite books to all the classes. This is an amazing woman who has provided her kids with an exciting and new collection even though she was given no money, zero dollars, as a budget this year. She is the kind of person that reminds me what it means to be a librarian. The first class I went to was mostly uneventful, but fun. I took Little Women and Eragon in the hopes that I could appeal to both girls and boys.
The second class I went to was amazing. I finished early with my first class and was asked if I could go to another. I answered agreeably, so they took me to the Lifeskills class. For those who do not know, because they have no teacher friends or are above the age of about 18, the Lifeskills class if what we used to call “special ed”. There were two classes combined in the room, waiting for their presenter, me. The teacher was very nice and she thanked me for coming to her class. I was then greeted by a girl in a wheel chair who welcomed me to their class, thanked me for coming, and told me that her favorite book was called Angels. It is about kids who sing, from what I gathered. A boy greeted me from the other class and welcomed me as well.
I introduced myself, told them that I am a librarian, and that I love to read. I asked them if they liked to read. I got a strong affirmative to that question. I told them about my books. They were the most interested in Eragon because it is about a dragon. We talked about dragons and I read a passage from the beginning of the book in my best dramatic voice. I was amazed because they loved it! I could see that they were just so happy to be there and to be listening to me. I was then at a loss for words as I ran out of what I had planned on doing. We had some time left so that teacher introduced me to one of her students named Courtney. She was only as high as my shoulder, a little less than 5 feet tall. The teacher explained to me that Courtney was a savant of sorts; she is blind and can not speak, but she can hear perfectly and play the piano by feel. She was amazing. She played Christmas carols on the piano and we sang Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, and Silent Night. It was wonderful. I could not stop smiling. When Courtney was done the teacher asked if I had any requests, but I did not. She asked Courtney to play something she wanted, “please”. Courtney then played the exact note that the teacher had asked her “please”. They repeated the note to each other, please – the note – please – the note. At the end I gave Courtney a hug and squeezed the teacher hard as I told her what a wonderful class of amazing kids she has there. A little girl on the side raised her hand and told me I could come back and see them whenever I wanted. I wish I could. That room was full of more beauty than I have seen in a long time.
-Jane – who is thankful for her blessings and the beauty she finds in unexpected places