By Anastasia Gruper
The anticipation of getting books into the hands of kids made setting up seem like an eternity. First we met to pack the car full of books and shelves to display the plethora of titles. Then we unpacked and set up in the Immanuel Lutheran gymnasium. The Brownie troop and Cole had a great handle on the set up; it would never have been completed so quickly without them. As we moved boxes of books, we were able to chat with other non-profit organizations setting up for the clinic. The passion and commitment of so many individuals was heart warming. Once the set up was complete, we waited patiently for the people to arrive.
As the first few people walked through the books, I watched as my friends and colleagues helped children find the perfect book. Not wanting to steal the joy from anyone else, I waited my turn. When a twelve year old girl brought her six year old brother through the line, I asked her what types of books she liked to read. She shook her head no, as if to say she wasn’t interested. Her little brother had found four books rather quickly, and I knew from her glancing at the books that she would love a few for herself. I picked up Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli and began to tell her why I loved the book. As if being polite, she accepted the book. I moved on to A Long Way From Chicago by Richard Peck and then First Light by Rebecca Stead. The girl took each book I chatted about. As I left the gymnasium, I prayed that something I said interested the little girl to read. Something in my heart tells me she just needed to be encouraged to take a few.