EveryDay Learners: How reading changes lives

Article by Thomas Moser, originally posted on the Daily Herald

“SEEKING NEW CARETAKER. Must be responsible, adaptable, and willing to perform emergency dental surgery on a fog giant,” reads the teaser flyer on the back of Brandon Mull’s “Fablehaven,” the book that got me reading like a madman and loving it.

Why? Partly because reading relieved me and gave my life purpose. It was my passion clear back then. Still is.

Before reading became my friend, things were different. One year in elementary school, I started getting bullied and chased around by other kids in my class. I tried to hide it from my family, but I couldn’t hide the empty lonely hole it made from myself.

Later that year, there was a day my class was in the library. The librarian presented another book, which I usually ignored. At that point in my life, I almost loathed reading. It bored me! I’d read some big books earlier, specifically “Moby Dick” and “The Old Man and The Sea.” These were old books, professionally written, and very boring to me. I thought most books were like that. Too big, too hard to understand, too much about the sea.

The book she showed was “Fablehaven,” by Brandon Mull. She explained that it was about magic, mythical creatures, and young kids just like us. My curiosity was piqued, and I wanted to learn more.

To make a long story short, my librarian thought it was too difficult of a book for me. But being the stubborn kid I was, I checked it out and took it home anyway. My parents, impressed, let me read constantly, thinking I’d get bored of it fast. Boy, were they wrong.

I finished it that week. And another book by the next. Book-reading filled my hole of loneliness, giving me peace.

This is where I’d normally end everything, summing up that I, in a nutshell, love to read. But instead, I’m going to end this by giving thanks that so dearly needs to be given out to one of my favorite authors.

Here’s a big thank you to you, Brandon Mull, author of “Fablehaven,” the book that, for me, started it all. Thanks to the time you spent developing your idea, going through the process of expanding, revising, presenting, and probably some rejection, I gained a thirst for reading. It saved me. Reading became what I was. And it’s shaping me into who I’ll be.

For more information on the importance of literacy in our community, please visit http://unitedwayuc.org.