Thousands of pages later...
This story is about a 10-year-old young lady named Miss Melanie Harrison. One morning as I was discussing with the library director* at the Claflin Independent Township Library about the recent article that had been published about a huge accomplishment she had just completed, I noticed a look of intrigue coming from my periphery. Miss Melanie was waiting ever so patiently to check out her usual stack of books. All of a sudden a light bulb went off in my head as I thought this could be a good opportunity for a reading challenge. I knew Melanie was no stranger to the library, or a good book for that matter, so I was sure I was about to propose a fair challenge. Little did I know!
My challenge was, if she read 100 books I would write an article about her great accomplishment. What I didn’t know is that the next time I would follow up on our challenge, she already had well over 250 checkouts just at the Claflin Library and on her very own library card alone. Keep in mind, that was also just before COVID-19, and the library, like most places, was closed for a period of time.
On any given day, Melanie can be found reading in one of her favorite spots, like on the couch with her pup, or outside in the hammock on a nice day. While she would love to spend most of her time lost in a good book about horses, magic, or dragons, she does stay quite busy with her two younger brothers and two younger sisters and hobbies like gymnastics (level 2 floor), 4-H, and tending to the animals and garden on their farm, not to mention working toward her future goal of being a cowgirl who can ride horses, round up cattle and own her own ranch. The rest of the time you will find her quietly thumbing the pages of one of her favorite series, that is until mom, Darah Harrison, says it’s time to put the book down (but only when necessary).
While the challenge was 100 books, it turns out Melanie has flipped through thousands of pages, just in one of her favorite series alone. She has read the Harry Potter Series several times, which comes in at 4,224 pages in the seven-book set. Her next favorite is the 15-book Wings of Fire Saga graphic novel series. For those who like a different kind of mystery, Melanie recommends the Nancy Drew Series.
Melanie has already one-upped me and set a new challenge for herself – that of reading 1 million books! Knowing that the hardest part of reading for Melanie is having to put a good book down, I am just pretty confident she will reach that 1 million book goal. Although she has closed the book on my original challenge with simple ease, I am absolutely certain her love of a great adventure found in the pages of the books she devours is really only the beginning of her great story!
*The Claflin library director is Pamela Atteberry, who was featured in a December 2020 edition of the Great Bend Tribune. The accomplishment the author was referring to was Atteberry’s completion of the Applied Public Library Education training, an 18-month program comparable to a library master’s degree.
Becky Wasson is board president of the Claflin Independent Township Library, vice president of Claflin Area Pride Inc. and a board member of the Central Kansas Library System. She can be reached at WassonCEO@gmail.com.