By Lindsay Eckert
Tribune lifestyle editor
My summers often started with a turn of a page. Although dives into a pool’s cool blue waters and riding horses colored the illustrations of my summer, the words I read nestled up in the corner of the children’s library defined my summers. I wasn’t reading literature that changed the world. The authors who wrote “The Saddle Club” series and Judy Blume weren’t necessarily blazing the trails of profoundness. But, they were doing something just as meaningful: Inspiring children to reach for books. More importantly, the words they wrote made me ask my parents: “Can I read just one more chapter before we go, please?” The writers’ words were behind the delight and smile as I sunk back into my chair; feet draped over a chair in relax mode for “one more chapter.” Letters may just be small tokens of ink traced into words, but that final product traced my life. It was during those summer days at the library, in my backyard fort, on a swing or in my Pap’s barn that I fell in love with words over and over again. I could carry the words and stories in my back pocket and travel to my favorite little places of quiet refuge. I could unveil, through reading, where these characters would go and what they would do. There was a simple sentiment of reading “The Saddle Club” series on a bale of hay and being able to kiss my horse on the nose after I finished a chapter. For me, being able to read in any setting made the settings of books I lived in even more meaningful. Books reaffirmed the comfort of my summer surroundings and, later in my life, those same reading destinations are now my writing destinations. Those little traces of ink my fingers once followed turned me into a writer. And the scenes and settings where I read those words helped me develop a passion, so deeply, for the stories I write that I actually miss them after finishing that last sentence. I owe all that passion to my little hometown library in Middletown, where their summer reading club made something I loved even more exciting: Hello, you got prizes from Hill’s.
So, you could imagine my excitement when I found out Kokomo-Howard County Public Library was planting the seed of literature into people’s summers with their summer reading club for all ages. KHCPL’S Dig Into Reading kid theme has sent little readers into different settings of their own through a community-wide scavenger hunt to find KHCPL’s face of summer reading club, Jerome the Gnome. Kokomo Tribune is on the scavenger hunt trail and we have our own Jerome. The little eyes that peak over the counter looking for Jerome make me wonder how many of them may eventually look for more than a gnome. I wonder how many will look to turn a love of reading into a career in the world of writing.
So, dig into reading, you never know what you’ll find between the lines or what scene will inspire a lifelong passion.
[friday] editor/ I dig reading