When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time in libraries. A lot of time. I was definitely a social kid; I just loved books. I could escape there. I learned. I would curl up in a ball at the base of the fairy tale section or the science fiction section and read for hours. It seemed like anything I was going through, there was a character doing the same thing. I’m still obsessed and honestly, being able to call myself a book author for the first time means more to me than pretty much anything else I’ve done in my career.
I may — and please don’t tell the librarians at Harborfields Public Library — have even penciled notes to future readers in some of those books. I’d discovered messages from earlier readers in a book about Greek Mythology and in a few school books, and it was like a mystery. I wanted to know who they were. I wanted to know what made them read the same books. The messages were inspiring and lovely and I’ve never forgotten them. So when I read a story about #PotterItForward today, it brought back some of my all-time favorite memories.
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I’m not surprised that it’s Potter-heads doing this. I read a lot of fantasy and sci-fi series and Harry Potter fans are amazing. Just say “Dobby” or throw a sock at them and they melt! So, here’s what they’re doing. #PotterItForward was started by MuggleNet, a Harry Potter fan site, and it has readers leaving notes in Harry Potter books for future fans — messages of love, friendship, encouragement and just plain fan fun. Unlike my mysterious secret reader friends of a few decades ago, these guys are using post-it notes and stationery. (Seriously, I still visit that library. Don’t tell them! I did use pencil.)
Here’s what mine would (and will, since I’ll be visiting a bookstore later today) say:
These books meant everything to me and reminded me that there is magic in the world at one of the worst times in my life. One of my friends even presented me with a sock once when I felt stuck at a job. “Dobby is a free elf,” she said. It’s never failed to make me smile. I wasn’t young enough to think I was getting an owl from Hogwarts when I read these, but every release date saw me (and several hundred children) dressed in house scarves at midnight, waiting for the next bit of magic. I hope they mean as much to you as they did to me.