Last Saturday morning it was cold and wet. I suppose it is to be expected when you live in the Southern Highlands in NSW, Australia. I was drinking my umpteenth mug of coffee, doing some university essay writing in my pj’s. Everyone else were either lazing about in bed or making their breakfast of toast and hot chocolates.
The house was a mess and the floors were in desperate need of a clean but I was not expecting any visitors and so I was relaxed about the way our home looked. Then to my terror, there was a knock at our door! I was hoping, actually praying, my hubby would answer the door, so I could at least put on some clothes to greet the early morning visitors but NO he stayed in bed, snoring!
With great trepidation, I opened the door slowly, to find a man and a young girl waiting patiently. My stomach sank, I assumed they were going to complain about the kids, dogs or hubby (no one would ever complain about me!) or worse, ask for a donation, as I had only a $50 note in my purse (sometimes I wish ATMs would dispense smaller currencies).
The man spoke first, he asked if I was the owner of the “little book share thingy” on my front verge, I looked over to it whilst nodding the affirmative. The dad introduced himself and his daughter, Hannah, a year 4 student, from a nearby public primary school, and that they live in a neighbouring street. Hannah, he said is a bookworm and loves the book swap. She hoped that I would not be upset as she had created a flyer/information sheet and hoped to do a letter drop, on my behalf. She had a laminated page, her prototype, to show me. It invited, kids, mums and dads, grandparents, in fact everyone to be part of this book swap. The dad expressed that they were worried my reaction could be nasty and angry that Hannah could be this presumptuous.
With tears in my eyes, I thanked her and explained that soon after my hubby put the little library onto our front verge, he had to have an emergency brain operation. Then due to the craziness of life I never got around to doing a flyer. I took solace that books were being exchanged and that several neighbours had left notes thanking me for this community building initiative. This venture act by her was what I dreamed of. This concept was no longer mine, it was taking its own life form. But I never expected a young girl of ten would do something so wonderful.
This is my dream, connecting, encouraging and enriching children’s love of books and highlighting all that is possible through books. Hannah showed me that what I believe and want is a reality, that Children DO Love Books. This has encouraged me to start a kids’ book club in our neighbourhood.