Growing A Reader
by Stacey Lee
Weekly visits to the Whittier Public Library.
My mom took my two sisters and I to the library every week. The weekly ritual showed us that not only was reading an acceptable form of escape/entertainment, it should be a regular part of our diet. Like my mom, my sisters can read a book a day. I could never get my eyes to go that fast, but I like to think I enjoy my reads twice as much.
|Here's a recent picture of my mom, now 74 years old, still going to the same library every week.|
The Wizard of Oz books by Frank L. Baum.
For me, this was my Harry Potter-series, my gateway-drug into the world of fantasy. Baum's worlds were so imaginative and wondrous, you wished you could slip into the pages. I especially remember the tree which grew picnic baskets, ripe for the picking, and the jail that turns out to be a beautiful library. Baum believed that reading was rehabilitative, and the jail was a parable of how books can change lives.
I grew up in a school where I could count the number of Asians on one hand (and a few of them were my sisters). I grew up feeling different and an outsider. Books let me feel that I was part of something. They gave me a way to feel like I belonged somewhere. I'm thankful to E.B. White, Roald Dahl, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Judy Blume, Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis, among other greats, for adding beauty to my childhood.
About the Author
About Outrun the Moon
San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty in Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare’s School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare’s is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. Not to be undone by a bunch of spoiled heiresses, Mercy stands strong—until disaster strikes.
On April 18, an historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy’s home and school. With martial law in effect, she is forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Mercy can't sit by while they wait for the Army to bring help. Fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, yet Mercy still has the 'bossy' cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenaged girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?
About Under a Painted Sky
Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.
This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it’s a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship.
Learn more about the Growing A Reader series here!