I was in kindergarten when I learned what made my heart beat strongest.

My coming-of-age story came from Mrs. Berger, my kindergarten teacher. She’d call us for story time and gather us on a circle painted on carpet squares of our classroom floor.  

Mrs. Berger created magical wonder when she read because she used distinctive voices for each character. She slowly turned pages and color that black print with her animations. I watched how some of my 5-year-old classmates were mesmerized while Mrs. Berger read. Some looked around the classroom. Others fought to stay awake as they listened to her quiet, calming voice.

When Mrs. Berger finished a book, she’d pass it around and ask us to pay attention to the book jacket, page texture and layout. She credited the author and illustrator as if she knew them personally.

I remember one of my classmates made fun of me because when it was my turn to hold the book, I held it to my nose. I wanted to absorb every part of a book’s aura.

MoMA | Smelling the Books

As a child, I spent hours playing librarian. My Mom helped me turn our family book collection into a library. We made cardboard check-out cards and organized books according to genre and age appropriateness. I’d invite friends and siblings to our basement library and encourage them to check out books. I remember the smell and sight of my ink-stained fingers from the handheld date stamp and pad of black ink.

Our basement also housed my classroom and reading circles. It was my first version of home-school. I played teacher, taught music, reading, and math classes. I’d read to my siblings and neighbors. When there wasn’t a live audience, I taught my stuffed animals.

Mrs. Berger’s kindergarten book circle became a square foundation for which I built my profession. My lifework includes writing, reading, and educating. I’m energized when I create lesson plans and love producing different messages from one theme.

reading circle - LD@school

Sometimes my insatiable curiosity leads people to tell me I ask too many questions. I don’t do so because I’m nosy. I simply crave to hear backstories and discover layers of each person.  If we meet each other, I’ll ask about your hobbies and interests before I ask about your job.  

When someone leaves our world, in a sense, I feel like a library has burned. That person had a history, biography, adventures to share. I mourn when libraries shut down. Each story leaves something behind and I’m grateful that our lives provide lessons and blessin’s.

To me, heaven will be a place where I’m eternally surrounded by God’s peace, music, books, authors, animals, snacks with dark chocolate crunch, and hazelnut coffee. A heavenly sensory experience.

Thank you, Mrs. Berger, and all people who taught me to read and develop appreciation for life’s wonders.

From the library of the FROG Blog,


Reader! Your turn.

What is your earliest memory of something or someone who impacted your lifework and mission?

What makes that memory and person stand out?

Please share your answers in the comment section. You know I appreciate a backstory.

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