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“Lovebrarians” by Laurie Halse Anderson

“Lovebrarians” by Laurie Halse Anderson

March 23, 2019

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

This poem, Lovebrarians, comes from a new book, SHOUT: A Poetry Memoir by Laurie Halse Anderson, available now on Amazon.  I am copying the poem and attaching the PDF at the end. 

Thank you, Lovebrarians, whoever you may be.



I hated reading. Loathed the ants

swarming across the page, lost

my excitement about school, fought, reduced

to a puzzle with missing pieces.

Once branded, the feeling of stupid never fades

no matter how many medals you win.


But then we rode the bus downtown

me and Leslie, who majored in music

and lived in our attic, Mary Poppins

with a Jersey accent, we rode the bus downtown,

the coins hot from my hand plink, plink

in the box next to the driver, all the way downtown

to a Carnegie library built by an immigrant

so everyone could read, free

and untrammeled by politicians seeking

to bind them into ignorance,

chain them to the wheel.

Leslie promised she’d read me the books

so I didn’t have to be afraid of mistakes

and I wrote My Name in big letters

got my first badge, a library card

I asked the librarian “Can I take out all the books?”

and she answered quite seriously

“Of course, dear, just not at the same time.”


And so, with extra Leslie help and a chorus

of angels disguised as teachers and librarians

for years unstinting with love and hours

of practice, those ants finally marched

in straight lines for me

shaped words, danced sentences,

constructed worlds

for a girl finally learning how to read


I unlocked the treasure chest

And swallowed the key.


Lovebrarians by Laurie Halse Anderson





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