Skip to main content

Guest Post: Tami Lewis Brown

Please welcome Tami Lewis Brown to GreenBeanTeenQueen!


Tami is the author of the middle grade novel, The Map of Me.



Tami has a great post about libraries that warms my heart! I hope you love it too!

Why I Read Dangerously—or How the Sidney Eline Library Saved My Life

The motto on my website says READ DANGEROUSLY. It’s a directive I take seriously—both as a reader and a writer. Read with open eyes and an open mind. Seek out new writers, new genres, new ideas. Read to foster life long learning. For me reading dangerously isn’t about reading books with “bad language” or drugs or promiscuous behavior. It’s REAL danger. It’s reading books that make you think.

But I wasn’t always an adventurous reader. In fact, the odds were against me being any kind of reader at all. Decoding came hard. By second grade I was barely keeping pace with Dick and Jane and the Sparrows reading group while the Bluebirds and Cardinals soared into chapter books.



No one in my family was an enthusiastic reader and we didn’t have lots of books at home. I remember one battered volume of Childcraft nursery rhymes in our house—not exactly dangerous reading.

What we did have, just a few miles away, was the children’s department of the Sidney Eline Public Library. And their impressive display of novels with shiny gold and silver stickers on the front. I wasn’t exactly sure what those stickers meant except that it was something good. And these books, even the picture books, weren’t for babies. No “See Spot run” in the shiny sticker books.

Look out Cardinal reading group! I was hooked. Then and there I decided I was a reader and believing in a thing is more than half of making it happen.

Soon I read about a silver maker’s apprentice, a wild Wisconsin tomboy, and my favorite, a brother and sister who run away to a museum in a city that fueled all my dreams. I didn’t love them all. Sailing around the Pacific on a little handmade boat? Boring. And so I learned to rely on my own taste and judgment, valuing my own opinions and back them up with reasons.

Maybe these books, classics now, don’t seem “dangerous” but they showed me there are other ways of thinking and living. I may have been only eight or nine but the books in the Eline Library Children’s Department introduced me to the life of the mind. They made me a person who asks questions and doesn’t expect easy answers. A person who’s willing to wait and savor to reach the end. A person who knows the obvious solution isn’t necessarily the right one.

So why do I write for children? If my books lure just one child into one library, opening their eyes to the possibilities, I will have accomplished more than any “adult” writer who crafts pretty phrases or twisted plots. I will have passed the love of books to the next generation. What could be more deliciously dangerous?

Comments

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

Dear Books: Please Update Your Libraries

There is nothing worse than coming across a book you are really enjoying only to be pulled out of it because of some outdated and incorrect library reference. I know that authors and illustrators will not always get everything 100% accurate, but I when I read books that show a very dated stereotype, or something that is just so incorrect, I always wonder why. I feel like authors and illustrators should know better! And it's not just older books-it happens in new books too! I recently read A Big Surprise for Little Card by Charise Mericle Harper and illustrated by Anna Raff.  I absolutely loved this book! It's a creative look at libraries through the eyes of a library card. It's perfect for my outreach visits and storytimes about the library and promoting what value there is in a library card. Anna Raff gets major points for illustrating a very cool and hip librarian as well! But the librarian tells card to shush and is a bit annoyed when he shows up. And then l