I believe it was around the fifth grade when it happened. We had to go into the school library and pick a book to read for an assignment. I was not enthused. Oh, I read a lot…my stack of comic books was the envy of all who saw it. But a “book”? My teacher sensed my reluctance, and knowing my family background pointed out a book saying, “Here, this one is about the river.” It was one of the thickest books on the shelf, and a quick flip of the pages didn’t reveal many pictures. With a shrug of the shoulders I surrendered, and walked back to the classroom. I noticed that everyone else came back with something colorful, and short. They all laughed at my humongous book, and someone asked, “What the heck did you get?” I looked at the cover for the first time and said, “Something called, The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer.”

I was slick enough to put off even looking at the book until bedtime and figured I could read a page or two and then insist that I “really” needed to get a good night’s sleep. Two hours later my mom came in and made me turn out the light. An hour later she came back in and took the book and the flashlight I was using to read under the covers. I was hooked.

It was the first time I remember not being able to wait to get back to a book. I didn’t just read it…I got lost in it. When I wasn’t reading it, I was reliving it in my mind, and the places in the story became blurred with places in my world. I finished the whole thing, and then re-read it, and again, each time finding new pieces of imagination.

I don’t remember anything else about assignment or how I did with that, but I do remember that, from then on, I was a reader of books.

Was there a particular booked that hooked you?