Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Guest Blogger of the Day: Val, a slowly developing heart for reading

Val came into my life 6 years ago.  She was a teen member of my church, and an excellent baby sitter.  Val graduated high school in May, and I couldn’t have been prouder.  She was active in 4-H member and at one time marching band.  She has worked for the Boys and Girls Club as a mentor to younger children.  Despite how amazing she is, she has not always been an avid reader.  One time I finally convinced her to read If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson.  I think this is one of the most beautifully written books that captures the heart of a tragic love store while interweaving some beautiful poetry into the tale.  Val was shocked at home much she loved this book.  Sometimes you match the right book with the right reader and magic happens.  This is Val’s tale in her own words . . .

Val has even starred in one of my RA posters
Going through high school there was always that book assignment to read or that paper to write that no one really wanted to have anything to do with. Being a typical teen I struggled; Do I actually read or do I simply Sparknote the material? As good as a reference as Sparknote’s can truly be, I’ve learned reading the material is truly better.
Learning this lesson has came from knowing not only a good friend of mine but a local librarian. From the very beginning of high school the phrase “why don’t you just read?” came across in multiple conversations. It wasn’t until my junior and senior year in high school I finally started to listen to her. From when I first went to her  and said “find me a book for this project,” her help was key to finding my love for reading.
Once, I realized that reading wasn’t that bad and that all I just needed was the right book my English classes were no longer a problem anymore. Just simply reading one chapter during spare time made it so I soon stopped failing quizzes, made writing papers much easier and less time consuming, and the struggle to answer a simple question about the material much more easy. Not only did the work acquainted with my material become more simple but my grammar and writing skills increased tremendously. Suddenly my “C” in English became an “A” all because I listened to my librarian, decided to actually read and use the services my local library offers.

If you come softly
as the wind within the trees.
You may hear what I hear.
See what sorrow sees.
If you come slightly
as threading dew,
I will take you gladly,
nor ask more of you.
      Audre Lorde (1934-1992)

Val sent me this text right after she finished reading If You Come Softly:  “Kar thank you for making me read the book if you come softly it was a great book and made me cry.”  The right book made all the difference.

Please note: this is a new feature and if you or one of your teens would like to make a guest blog post, please e-mail me at kjensenmls@yahoo.com.  Just e-mail me a copy of your story, some basic bio information, a head shot and any artwork if you so desire.


  1. This is one of the reasons I became a librarian…I would love to someday be able to match a reader with their perfect book too! Just need that elusive job after graduating in May…

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful story!

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