I was subbing in the library at one of the alternative high schools in town.
A girl came in and stood there, surveying the shelves of books. She looked a little bit lost. I got up and asked her, "Can I help you find something?"
"I don't read," she said. "But I need a book. For class. To read for 30 minutes."
"Do you like fantasy or realistic fiction?" I asked.
"I don't know," she said. "I don't read."
I went to the shelves and pulled out a book by Sonya Sones called WHAT MY MOTHER DOESN'T KNOW. It's written in verse, like some of my YA novels, and because I've heard from lots of teens over the years who say, "I usually hate to read, but I like your books..." I thought it might be a good choice.
I told her what it was about. I showed her how the pages have lots of white space on them. I told her how much I enjoyed the book.
She looked at me and smiled. "Maybe I can even finish most of it in 30 minutes."
I smiled back. "I bet you can. And if you like it, she has another one here as well you should check out."
"Okay. I will. Thanks."
She left with a book but more than that, she left with confidence and encouragement that she could read it.
All it takes is one book to turn a kid into a reader, and you know where that often happens? At a school library. That's just one of the reasons why I love them so very much.