My life is made from words. For years I have worked as an illustrator. Recently I began to write. I also read.
When I was young we did not have books in my house. Well, maybe one or two. Every week we would go to the library and choose maybe 3 or 4 books to take home. I was slow to learn to read and would often take out picture books.
I loved the silent hushed shelves where the books would whisper to me and it often seemed that certain books would push themselves out to be noticed. They all held doorways to other worlds.
I would gather up my new friends, carry them carefully to the counter and reach up high for the lady to stamp them. Books seemed bigger then, but maybe I was smaller.
I loved to see how long they had been sleeping on the shelves, waiting for me to come and breathe life into them, waken them by reading. I would wonder about who last had held each book, what they had thought of it. And then, after a week or two I would take it back and choose again. A dance of books.
And one book I would always choose more than others. The Jungle book, with coloured plates, hard backed, heavy paged. I can still smell it now, just thinking of it.
Without libraries I would not have had access to a world of books. I would not have been able to feed the hunger for stories that made me learn to read. My life would not be made of words now, and my future would have been very different.
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