This is a guest post from Lindsay Bribiescas, a lovely young woman and recent high school grad that I met at the Bay Area Book Fest. After hearing stories of so many high schoolers who never read for fun anymore, I was inspired by her genuine love of reading and asked her to share more about how she developed her reading life. Hope you get some inspiration from her story, too.
When I was little, I was obsessed with books. I would pretend to read them even when I couldn’t read yet, and slept with them as I would a stuffed animal. Books were my escape as I grew older, my solace during difficult times.
But my love for books was not entirely forged by me. My family constantly fed my fascination with books, and without their guidance, I would not have the same passion for them. They did this in a few ways: they talked about books with me, they allowed me to use the books, they challenged me, and they praised me for my reading.
No matter what level of book I was reading, my uncle, a high school English teacher, would ask me about it. He would ask about the writing, about the characters, what symbols there were, and what they meant. What characters did I like most, and why? Which characters did I relate to most; after all, if I could find a relatable character, I was more likely to enjoy the book. When I discovered Hermione Granger, it was like a whole new world appeared to me. Here was a smart, capable girl who, like me, wasn’t the best at making friends, but relied on her books and herself. She helped encourage and shape me, and it was because of her, that my love of books only grew.
Like Hermione, books became my constant companion, and my primary mentors. Beyond their role as my inspiration, they began to supplement what I learned in school. I could learn whole new languages, new skills, and all without being held back by my typical shyness. I could explore a whole new world, and never fear that I would embarrass myself.
The books I read gave me confidence, but they also gave others reason to notice. No matter what I was reading, I was praised and encouraged by my family. They would brag to their friends that their little girl was reading at an advanced level, that she couldn’t put down a book. Though their praise was not my sole reason for reading, it was encouragement enough to keep reading.
You can follow Lindsay on Facebook here.