So I Say Thank You For The Books....featuring Theresa Milstein


'So I say Thank You For The Books...' is a new weekly feature and where each week someone, blogger or author, tells us who or what inspired their love of reading


This weeks post comes from Theresa Milstein

I have a BA and MA in History. When I'm not subbing and looking for a full-time job, I write children's books. My current pieces are YA fantasy/paranormal romance. If you want to read about my teaching and writing sagas, go to Substitute Teacher's Saga http://theresamilstein.blogspot.com. If you want to read excerpts of queries and beginnings of manuscripts (especially if you're an agent or editor), visit Earnest Writer's Excerpts http://theresamilstein2.blogspot.com.



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In my elementary school library in New York City, I borrowed the same books over and over. One of my favorites was The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. I mourned for the poor Bar-ba-Loots, feared for the Humming-fish, and longed to touch the tufts of the Truffula trees.

I also borrowed The Best Loved Doll by Rebecca Caudill, wishing I owned each doll in the pictures.


Unlike my children whose shelves are bursting with books, I owned very few of my own books as a child. I received some as presents and bought several more during the yearly Scholastic Book Fairs. But those books I did own, which were mostly picture books, I reread until I’d memorized them.

When I was in third-grade, we moved to the suburbs. In the new school library, I tried to take out the beloved Lorax book, but the librarian admonished me for reading a picture book.

“But I like books with pictures,” I argued.

She handed me Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, and told me, “This has pictures, but with more words.” I leafed through it, skeptical.

The nosey librarian didn’t stop there. She actually called my mother and told her I was reading books “below my reading level”. I was annoyed that this woman was so interfering.

Then I read Charlottes Web and fell in love with it. I cried (spoiler alert) when Charlotte died. I cried harder (another spoiler alert) when most of the baby spiders went out into the world, but three stayed behind to live with Wilbur. I became hooked on chapter books.

When I wasn’t borrowing books from school, I made my mother take me to the town library. I didn’t so much read books as inhale them. When I felt like I’d read everything in the children’s section, I begged my mother to let me borrow from the YA section on the second floor with the adult books. There, I discovered Judy Blume had written more than books about a kid named Fudge.

I snuck books into bed at night, reading by the light that slipped in from the hallway or from a smuggled flashlight under my covers. My father warned me of the eyesight I was going to lose. (Psssst, I still have pretty good vision.)

So I guess that nosey suburban public school librarian wasn’t so nosey after all. She did her job by helping me find the right books. By doing so, she created a reader for life.

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Thanks Theresa for another great post. My daughter isn't keen to move away from picture books either, I think I'll have to try Charlotte's Webb with her...I know I loved it!

Would you like to be featured in So I Say Thank You For The Books...? I'm looking for bloggers and authors who would like to write a guest post for this weekly feature.

Is there one particular person who inspired your love of books? It could be a relative, teacher, librarian, a particular author...anyone. It could even be a 'thing'...perhaps a movie prompted you to look up the book which inspired it or a specific event occurred and you've never looked back? It's up to you...now's your chance to tell us all about it! (Obviously, for privacy reasons, we don't need full names and photo's of people!)


There's more details here. You can be as creative as you like and don't have to follow a specific format. Feel free to email me with any questions!

Checkout previous So I Say Thank You For The Books...posts here

17 comments:

  1. While I am glad the nosey librarian gave your a chapter book I wish she would have also told you it was OK to love the picture book as well. Still she did as you said help you become a life long reader. Great post! Good luck with finding a job and an agent/publisher.

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  2. Another lovely post! I really do love these. Charlotte's Webb made me cry too.

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  3. Good morning. I'm finally up in Boston and have linked this post to my blog. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to write a guest post.

    Jan von Harz, I kept my love of picture books and have passed it on to my children. In all fairness to the librarian, I just kept borrowing the same ten books. I did need to expand my horizons.

    Jessheartsbooks, last night I saw the movie screening of "Because of Winn Dixie" the book and the movie made me cry as well.

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  4. I read Dr. Seuss growing up to! I had Green Eggs and Ham and One Fish Two Fish. But not the Lorax book! I'll need to get that one to add to my collection!

    It is sad when Charlotte dies. *sigh*

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  5. I read Dr. Suess books growing up and I still have all the books tatered and worn. My favorite books were the Born Free series by Joy Adamson. I am visiting from Theresa Millstein's blog.
    Lovely blog.

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  6. Sometimes that's all it takes, the magic of a few words from someone in our lives, and we're hooked forever. I used to love those Scholastic Book Fairs, and the little paper flyers, too, that we'd get once a month to order books from. It was like looking through a treasure chest, what a great feeling.

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  7. Theresa, thanks for sharing this lovely anecdote with us! I didn't read The Lorax until my daughter's ballet class performed a recital based on it. Loved it! I wonder if that school librarian has any idea the impact she had on you, and surely countless other children? What a gift!

    Rhiana, you have a great blog! I look forward to reading more from you!

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  8. Great post! Thanks, Theresa - I loved Fudge too, and I'd forgot all about him until you mentioned him now. Thanks for the memories!

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  9. @ Aubrie, you MUST read The Lorax.

    My daughter and I both cried over Charlotte's Web when I read it to her aloud. In fact, I cried earlier, knowing Charlotte will die.

    @ Joanne, my kids still bring those home and I get that same excited feeling I got as a child. It was wonderful.

    @ Nicole, I'm sure she was just doing her job. Often, we don't know what we say to a child that they'll carry with them forever. I try to remember that as a parent and teacher.

    @ Talli, there were many books I loved, it was hard to choose. I didn't mention Shel Silverstein or Tomie DePaola.

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  10. Thank you Rhiana for hosting the fabulous Theresa Milstein!!

    Yay for nosey librarians!!! She saw an avid reader with a big imagination in you!

    Now I want to borrow the Lorax from my own library and in these days of self-issue machines at least I won't be in fear of a librarian tut-tutting at my chosen reading material - LOL!

    Take care
    x

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  11. Thanks Theresa for a great guest post...and thanks to everyone else for dropping by and leaving a comment!

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  12. @ Old Kitty, let me know if your librarian gives you any problems.

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  13. Wonderful post, Theresa! Thanks for sharing the reason behind your love for books. :) I wonder if all writers suffered from flashlight under the blankets when they were kids disorder???

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  14. Charlotte's Web also touched me very deep. It was definetly one of the first books that inspired me too!

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  15. @ Sharon, HA! I wonder too! I give my children plenty of time to read at night so they don't have to hide flashlights.

    @ Clara, i wonder how man times I've read it and been moved by it.

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  16. I love this posting idea! Thanks for sharing your book love discovery with us, Theresa. I love most of those books too. There's just nothing like those early treasures, is there?! :-)

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  17. @ Shannon, the younger we are, the greater impact books have in our lives. Reading a book so much I knew it inside out and had memorized the pictures (and sometimes, the words) made the book feel a part of me.

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