Some of Denise Vega's childhood booksSo this week will be devoted to all things books in honor of Banned Books Week.

Today I want to share the magic of my childhood library – Bemis Public Library in Littleton, CO. I was honored and delighted to be able to give a speech there last spring as young writers were recognized for their stories and poems. The library was very different from when I was a child, but it didn’t dim my excitement when I walked through those doors in May, my mind replaying images from my childhood.

My mom was (and still is) an avid reader and her love of books was contagious. She would bring my siblings and me to Bemis at least once a week and we would browse the shelves, waiting for a story to jump out and claim us as its own. As I entered the library last spring, I felt the ghosts of books past whisper over my shoulder, stories I cherished and read over and over again swirling through my mind.

I remember running my fingers along the spines of the books, then pulling out the ones I wanted to check out. If no one else was ready to go, I would curl up in a corner and start reading until they were. I can’t recall what the limit was for the number of books we could check out, but I do remember almost always checking out the limit each time.

The picture above is a very small sample of some of my favorites. If you’re around my age and were a reader as a child, I bet you recognize some of them. There are mysteries, fantasy, science fiction, realistic stories and historical. I loved all the genres and still do!

I’d love to hear some of your favorite childhood books if you’d care to share. Tomorrow I’ll talk about some of the books that had a big impact on me as a kid.

Extra credit: Can you find the frequently-banned book in the collage of books above?

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