Skip to main content

Guest Post: Kathi Appelt

Please welcome author Kathi Appelt to GreenBeanTeenQueen! I love her post about her childhood memories of her library. I think we all can relate!

Hoofbeats in the Park Place Branch Library

The year is 1962. It’s the summer between first and second grades, and the Houston heat is bearing down on me. My sisters and I are staying with my grandmother in her house on Ithaca Street where there is no air-conditioning.

We are melting.

But only two blocks away is the Park Place Branch Library. My grandmother makes us hold hands as we march down the street. The heat shimmers above the asphalt, an invisible ghost. Sweat drips from my temples and straight into my mouth.


After what seems like the longest march of my life, we walk through the heavy glass doors of the Library and we are saved. The cool air wraps its chilly fingers around us and we shiver.

This is heaven I think. And to make it even more heavenly, there is a display of horse books in the children’s section. And smack in the middle: Black Beauty.

At seven, I was one of those girls who loved horses. My chief dream then was to have my own horse, to ride the range, chase outlaws, win the blue ribbons at the fair. But reality was always pushing against that dream. My family’s small house on the southeast side of Houston was hardly a place for a horse. And even though my heart needed a horse, the rest of me surely didn’t.


The closest I could come was through books. And thankfully the Park Place Branch had plenty of them beginning with Black Beauty.

One of the reasons that I believe we read is allow ourselves the experience of re-overlaying the-world-as-we-know-it on top of the-world-that-is-possible. A great book has that power, to fundamentally change our views. With Black Beauty, I was one person at the beginning of the book, and another at the end.

In the pages of Black Beauty, I was no longer a small girl with a dream. I was fully-fledged participant in a world that was bigger than me. In the aisles of the Park Place Public Library, I became a better citizen. I learned how to let my heart break over the horrible treatment of Ginger, and also how to stand firm in the face of cruelty. I learned that love doesn’t end during long periods of time apart, something that held me in good stead when my father left our family for months on end.


I’ve read Black Beauty twenty times at least, and each time I do I find something new to appreciate about it. But oh how I wish I could read it for the first time again. I would do it the same way I did when I was seven, curl up in the aisles of the Park Place Public Library with only the white noise of the air conditioning on a hot summer day in my ears. I would be that dreamy girl again, with her own black horse, galloping between the pages. I would.





Photo Credit: Ken Appelt

Thanks for sharing your story Kathi! I still have young girls come in and curl up in the library to read Black Beauty! I love that books can grab you at a young age and never let you go and Kathi Appelt is doing her part to give kids books they'll want to read over and over!

Be sure to check out Kathi's website. And for the librarians who subscribe to School Library Journal's SLJTeen Newsletter, Kathi Appelt's latest novel, Keeper will be highlighted this week with a special giveaway for librarians!

Kathi will be visiting The Brain Lair next, so be sure to stop by!

Comments

  1. We didn't have library in my town but I'd spend so much time in the bookstore just looking and lookin and looking. I still do!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

I love hearing from other readers! Share your thoughts and chime in!

Popular posts from this blog

Bedtime Books for the Weary

Today I'm over at the ALSC Blog talking about some of my new favorite bedtime-themed books!

Suite Scarlett Giveaway!!!

How would you like to win a paperback copy of Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson ? I have FIVE copies up for grabs!! When Scarlett Martin turns fifteen she is put in charge of the Empire Suite, one of the rooms in her family’s hotel. Enter Mrs. Amberson, an aging C-list starlet who decides to employ Scarlett. Soon, she is taking dictation, running around New York City, and getting caught up in Mrs. Amberson’s crazy adventures. In the midst of it all, Scarlett falls in love–or so she thinks–and it takes Mrs. Amberson to help her see the light. Now in paperback from top-selling author Maureen Johnson! Here's the deal: -Contest ends July 20, 2009 -For U.S. Addresses only, sorry! -Comment on this post to enter. -Come back and comment again on this post for another entry-you may enter as many times as you want!! -Blog/Twitter/Facebook/E-mail this contest to others for +1 extra entries -Link me to your review of Suite Scarlett (or any other Maureen Johnson book) in the comments for +2

About Me

Hello! My name is Sarah and I am a Youth Services Manager who works with kids, tweens and teens. I love being asked about great books to read! I started my blog in 2008 as a way to keep track of what I've been reading and to use a reference tool for reader's advisory and it's grown into much more than I could have ever anticipated. In addition to book reviews, I also enjoy posting audiobook reviews, booklists and my adventures in being a librarian. 2017 Library Journal Mover and Shaker Committees: 2021 Newbery Committee 2018 Odyssey Committee 2016 Caldecott Award 2013 Michael L. Printz Committee- Fabulous Films Committee I have also served on the Cybils, Missouri State Library Association Readers Selection Lists, and as an Audies judge. Presentations :  I have offered various presentations at local, state and national libraries and conferences. Topics have included:  What's New in Children's & Teen Literature Engaging Teens in Reader's Advisory Gee