I actually have the kind of a different story. About when I hit fourth or fifth grade, I stopped reading. I fell out of it. It happens a lot to that boys, I hear, at about that age.
I didn't get back into it until an teacher in the eighth grade hand me a novel and require me to read one of the novels she had read, that she knew about because I was dodging out of my book reports. I was sneaking around them, so she wanted to make sure that I was reading a book that she had read. So she made me pick one off her little rack, and it was a fantasy novel.
I'm now fantasy novelist; I'd never read one before. I remember going to her after reading this book, it was called "Dragon's Bay" and just loving at it and saying to her "People write books about dragons! I can't believe this." She said, ya, there's a library full of them.
So I went to the library, this was the school library. And one of my favorite memories is looking through the card catalog, because we still had those back then, and I said well if there's going to be another book about dragons, maybe it starts with "dragon" in the title. and so I took "Dragon's Bay" and looked at the next card in the catalog and I still remember being there, it's one of those memories since that's locked in my mind and finding Ian McCaffrey's "Dragon Flight," which is a Hugo award-winning fantastic science fiction fantasy novel and going in and just reading through the libraries entire stock of whatever fantasy novel they had there.
And I really appreciated the variety that they had there for me to delve into and that's what turned me into a writer.
The librarian, I actually went back to school just add a couple years ago and I met with a librarian who was a wonderful person as well. and She would always guide me toward the books that I wanted after and I'd fallen into this fantasy thing.
She knew which books would appeal to me and that's why we need good literacy professionals librarians and teachers, because without somebody pushing me, and I only needed a little push, I was right on the edge already, but someone pushing me, and saying you could read this big book Brandon. You will love this big book.
Without somebody doing that, I don't know if I would be a writer.
I've got a three year old, he is just discovering the library. We love to take him. And he's just discovering that he can go and get any book in there that he wants.
I remember that feeling. First realizing that these are all books I can read, all of these? Any of them?
[On budget cuts]
I'm really particularly frustrated with the budget cuts that are taking librarians out of schools. This is a big deal, because you know, this is very important to me, my librarian and that teacher together, but without the librarian to be handing the right books to kids. You don't get these powerful readers without somebody to guide them along the way a lot of time.
And I don't think that the people cutting the budget understand just how vital it is to have somebody there as a resource to the kids. I don't think they understand, at all what they're losing.
Now as a parent I believe that parents have the right to choose this is not something appropriate for my child, but I worry most about things where people are challenging books because of the ideas presented. Not even the content, content is another issue, content meaning graphic content or things like this. But when they ban a book because the ideas are ideas you don't like, what you're doing is insulating yourself.
I have a number of projects going on. One of interest that is a few years out is called "The Rithmatist" which is about some... it's really weird, I write these great fantasy books, and what it is is these crazy kids who duel with chalk. They draw circles around themselves on the floor and they scribble out these creatures and things that cross the floor. They kind of have these magical duels and it's about a school for people have this talent, except the main character is the son of the cleaning lady who gets free tuition to the magical school. He can't do any of this stuff. He doesn't have any of these magical powers. But it's the story of the boy with no magical powers, the son of the cleaning lady going to this school and kind of getting pulled into this culture and things like this, when he actually can't do it. That's coming out in 2013, and of course out of the last book of "The Wheel of Time." Robert Jordan's "The Wheel of Time," which is coming out next year.
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