Happy Esther Day, Nerdy Friends!
I just returned home yesterday after a magical week at summer camp. I spent a full week in an old stone house with five teenage girls and one lucky counselor at Hartman Center, a church camp for our conference, doing what we love most: reading and writing – and talking about reading and writing.
My husband and I have been part of all kinds of camps over the years – both as campers and directors – and getting campers to know each other early in the week is crucial. It’s the first step to making friends – and that was always what camp was about for me.
While I thought about which getting-to-know-you activity we’d do, the girls unpacked. Like true Nerdy Book Club members, they unpacked their books first and placed them on the shelves in their bunks. As each new camper arrived, they checked out the other girls’ bookshelves and started to talk about books. By the time they were all there, everyone was hanging out in their newly made beds talking about their favorite books and summer reading assignments and what they were going to read this week.
The counselor had to remind us that we needed to get gong to dinner or we’d be late.
All I could think was what I already knew: books bring people together.
By the end of the week, I revised that: just being readers makes us friends.
The Nerdfighters among us are no doubt familiar with Esther Day – the celebration of Esther Earl’s birthday by vlogbrothers John and Hank Green. When they asked her how she would like them to celebrate her birthday, she told them that she wanted it to be a celebration of love for family and friends – the people who might not always get to hear us say, “I love you.”
Nerdy friends, I started out drafting this post as a thank you and an I-love-you to all of Nerdy Book Club – to the people who post, to the people who visit, to the readers who comment, to Donalyn, Colby, and Katherine for everything they do for me and for all of us. And I am definitely sending that love your way because I think of you daily and am amazed and empowered and better each day for being part of this community.
But my mind was racing and it didn’t end there.
I thought about the people who helped me become a reader: my parents and grandparents, the friends who passed me copies of Christopher Pike and Judy Blume and The Stinky Cheese Man, the teachers who encouraged me – and sometimes just ignored me reading under my desk because I was at a good spot. I love them.
I thought about the other readers who influence me: the students who enter my classroom, the reading friends who think of me with book recommendations, the librarians at my library, the booksellers, the strangers who became friends after giggling over a copy of I Want My Hat Back or Carnivores at conferences or at summer camp. I love them, too.
I thought about the authors and illustrators who create the shared experiences that connect us. I love them and cannot thank them enough for what they do.
The more I thought, the bigger this I-love-you got.
I don’t want to cheapen my Esther Day celebration by sending out so much love to so many people in one post, but I don’t say it enough.
I love you.
Pass it on.
Happy Esther Day!
Cindy Minnich is lucky enough to live the charmed life of a high school English teacher. She is mom to one future librarian and wife to a fellow reader. She can be found on Twitter as @cbethm, on web at http://www.chartingbythestars.com, and in real life curled up reading in the nearest comfy chair reading and drinking coffee.