Books nearly made me drop out of school in first grade.
I'd learned to read early, but my school had strict library rules, and though
I was bored to tears by Dick and Jane, the second- and third-grade books were
off limits. So I took to phoning my great-grandfather from school each morning.
I'd complain of headache, he'd come get me, and we'd play and read happily at
his house each day.
Though Gramps never ratted me out, after several weeks our ruse was discovered,
and the outcome was one of the great triumphs of my
When I explained to my mom and dad that I didn't like school because they
wouldn't let me read there, they transferred me to another public school. On
my first day, the teacher marched me into the school library. "Do you see
this child?" she asked the librarian. "This child is allowed to read
any book she wants to." At that moment, I was seven feet tall, and my education
If you've taken a Cure,
you'll know that one of its central tenets is that your home has energy in it
that is unlocked when you work on it, and novelist Masha
Hamilton has given me a great way to unlock the energy on my bookshelves
and put it to good use giving other people access to a library.
She'll be reading
from her new novel, The
Camel Bookmobile, tomorrow at 7 at McNally Robinson, but there's a
real camel bookmobile, a portable library for pastoralists:
It operates from Garissa in Kenya’s isolated Northeastern
Province near the unstable border with Somalia. Initially launched with three
camels on Oct. 14, 1996, the library now uses 12 camels traveling to four
settlements per day, four days per week. The camels bring books to a semi-nomadic
people who live with drought, famine and chronic poverty. The books are spread
out on grass mats beneath an acacia tree, and the library patrons, often barefoot,
sometimes joined by goats or donkeys, gather with great excitement to choose
their books until the next visit.
The Camel Book Drive is
set up to support the bookmobile's efforts, and on that site you can see pictures
and a video
and get all the information if you'd like to donate
either books or funds for a new tent to protect library patrons from the desert
Photo credits: Briana Orr and Masha Hamilton