Spring is finally here, and along with the sunny days and nicer weather come some of our favorite author’s birthdays! In honor of May being Get Caught Reading Month, here are some quotes to share with your students about the power of reading – and the possibilities books can inspire.
Gary Paulsen, May 17th
Author of Tracker, Dogsong, Woods Runner, Lawn Boy
I can’t point to one specific book…but the act of reading certainly saved my life.
The awfulness of my childhood has been well covered, and I’ve always been quick to admit that I was a terrible student, a lousy reader. A librarian handed me a book when I was young, and every good thing that has happened to me since then is a result of that one woman taking the time to hand a troubled kid, who didn’t even particularly want to read, that one book.
I wish I could remember the name of the book, but I can’t even remember what it was about. What I do remember the most about that evening in the library was that it marked the first of many nights she would give me a book. “Here,” she’d say, handing me a few battered volumes, “I think you’ll like these.” I would take them home to hide in the basement and read. When I’d bring them back, we’d talk about them, and shed give me more books.
But she wasn’t just giving me books – she was giving me everything. She gave me the first hint I’ve ever had in my entire life that there was something other than my nightmarish home life. She handed me a world where I wasn’t going to be beaten up by the school bullies. She showed me a place where it didn’t hurt all the time.
I owe everything I am and everything I will ever be to reading.
Mike Lupica, May 11th
Author of Hero, The Batboy, Miracle on 49th Street, Million Dollar Throw
When I was young, I loved to read mysteries about the Hardy Boys, and loved reading what were called ‘science adventure’ stories about a character named Rick Brant, and his friend Scotty.
More than anything though, my favorite books were about Chip Hilton. They were written by a famous basketball coach named Clair Bee, and were about football and basketball and baseball. The books featured Chip and his mom and his friends Soapy Smith and Speed Morris; and a wise, wonderful high school coach named Henry Rockwell.
But they were about friendship and loyalty and never giving up. They were about finding a way to pick yourself up no matter how many times you got knocked back down.
Of course these are all things I write about in my own books now. I didn’t know, when I was your age and first fell in love with these stories myself, that someday I would be lucky enough to write stories of my own like this, and have young readers fall in love with them.
We all love a good story. In that way, we’ll always be the same. The young reader who read those Chip Hilton books just happens to be the one now writing for you.
Mary Pope Osborne, May 20th
Author of The Magic Tree House series
When I was young, I never imagined that I would grow up to be an author. In those days, no authors ever visited any schools I attended, and I never wrote any stories in class. I did know one thing, however. I knew that I loved to live in my imagination, and I loved to read. I read everything I could get my hands on. When I was in third and fourth grade, I read Nancy Drew and The Little House on the Prairie books. My favorite book was The Little Princess. And I loved a series of biographies about the childhoods of famous Americans. I remember one in particular: The Big Wave by Pearl S. Buck, about a boy who sees a tidal wave wash over his village. I read it many times.
The events in children’s books sometimes seemed more real to me than real life. That is why I decided to write children’s books when I grew up – so I could continue to have great adventures in other times and places. And that is why books are magic in my Magic Tree House series.
I hope you will be like my characters, Jack and Annie, and discover over and over again the wonder and magic of simply reading a book.
Enjoy the springtime weather, and Happy Reading!