Granny Chick encouraged her children to read. She read to them, read with them, and made sure each one owned a library card.
Stick Chick’s English teacher worked with the school librarian to encourage her students’ reading. At the beginning of the year, she distributed a coloring-book style handout to each student. Pictured on the papers were bookcases divided into sections of books that loosely represented the Dewey decimal system classifications, and divisions of fiction like you might see today in your neighborhood Barnes and Noble.
The precious page occupied the front of Stick Chick’s notebook. The year’s assignment required reading 25 books each, at least two from each category, and no more than the maximum number of books shown in any one category.
Each Library day, Stick Chick and her friends in turn would sit with the librarian, answer questions about the books they had read and color in the corresponding book spine pictured on the shelf handout. Doing so allowed them to select a new book for the next week’s assignment.
This cleverly designed assignment forced the children to explore genres that they might not otherwise have chosen, but it allowed the students the freedom to choose titles that suited individual interest. It did not hurt that there was a little bit of math thrown in. (Not that it did Stick Chick any good. See New Math)
When living in the country, one night each week, Granny Chick schlepped her children off to the Bookmobile which parked in the lot in a nearby town at Jacksonville Pharmacy for a couple of hours.
The pharmacy was, aside from the place where their minds entertained foreign worlds and ideas, where they took the tidbits of their weekly allowance to buy contraband: shiny beads in tiny glass vials with which to string elastic necklaces and bracelets, bold blue mascara, an occasional box of TicTacs, and big green packs of Doublemint gum.
On Bookmobile nights in winter, when breath hung in wisps in the night air, they’d rush from their VW van (with its questionable heater) to the bookmobile, hurrying up its steps and closing the door behind them to keep the library-on-wheels warm. Stick Chick adored checking out books, frequently taking home the maximum allowed, or at least as many as she could carry. She probably only read a quarter of the ones she had chosen before it was time to take them back or renew. She personified the Bookmobile Geek, excited to let authors take her to places of dreams, of science fiction, and of romance.