Thursday, October 14, 2004

On the spot

Do you remember the first chapter book you ever read? That's the question the librarian at my daughter's school lobbed at me yesterday, in front of a bored bunch of sixth-graders. I volunteered again this year to lead small-group discussions for the school's book club, and I stopped by for the opening organizational meeting. The librarian was chatting on about the book club rules, and how you should only be in the club if you really, really love books and they mean a whole lot to you. She talked about how she could still remember the first chapter book she ever read -- some Bobbsey Twins tale -- and then, with no warning, she pointed to me and said she was sure I could still remember my first chapter book, too, and why didn't I just tell the class? And you know, I had no idea. Books like "Charlotte's Web" and "Island of the Blue Dolphins" stick in my mind as childhood favorites, but surely they weren't my first chapter books. And even if they were, I'm not fast enough on my feet to just come out with them on the spot, with no prior consideration. I told the librarian afterward that if she's going to expect me to do any public speaking, even of the short-answer variety, she's got to give me some warning in advance. Time, at least, to make something up.

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