How a Book Saved My Life (sort of)

I’ve been a member of the Nerdy Book Club since I was about 4 years old. According to my mom that’s when my parents discovered I could read.  Since I am now 48, that means I’ve been a reader for 44 years. (See, readers can also do math!) I guess you could say I have been a reader for a long time. I have also been a reading teacher. I have been a reading tutor. I am now a reading ‘specialist’ for my school district. All of these roles have been so rewarding. I have loved seeing students turn into readers and seen great value in helping teachers make this happen as well. There is one reading role in my life though that stands above the rest- reading mother.

From the time my children were infants I read to them. They are now 23, 20, 18 and 6. All of them are readers and that makes me happy. Let me tell you how happy.

Several years ago after being married for 20 years, I was divorced. Of course it was hard for my kids. That’s an understatement. It was so difficult that for a period of about 2 years I was estranged from my middle daughter. It was one of the hardest periods of my life.

Then one day the phone rang. It was her. She had been reading my Facebook page and saw a post I wrote about the wonderful Laurie Halse Anderson. I had written to Laurie after hearing her speak at a convention and I was so excited (Nerdy Book Club Alert!) that she had written me back. Laurie is also one of my daughter’s favorite authors.  My daughter wanted to know if I had REALLY had an email from her. I said yes. Then my daughter said, “I love writing and I love reading. That is so much a part of who I am and I know that part of me comes from you.”

We met for coffee and started a conversation that set us on the road to reconciliation. I remember that day we talked a lot about books; what we had read, what we were reading, what we were anxiously waiting to come out. We talked about books we loved, characters we hated, and which authors really needed to write a little faster because we couldn’t wait to see what happened next. It was safe territory. The books drew us together again.  They were a common ground where we could stand and see the future.

Since that day we have shared and discussed so many new favorites with each other. It’s not unusual for me to get a text from her that just says something like, ‘Page 127!!!’ or ‘You won’t believe who been cast for Peeta!!’ We had to order 2 copies of The Fault in Our Stars because neither of us could stand to wait and read it second. Books make our lives sweeter and richer.

I knew as a young mother that reading to my children was important, but I never imagined at the time that it would one day bring my daughter back to me. When you open a book to share with someone, you never know the power it may hold to change a life- maybe even your own.

Do I love books?

Oh yeah.

I sure do.

 Sherry Hall is an Instructional Specialist in Arlington, Texas. She is the author of a picture book, Tallulah and the Three Cowgirls, and is working on a novel…still…You can read her thoughts on whatever topic she happens to think of at