Sharon, OFPL
Circulation Assistant

It is a pleasure to shine a spotlight on Circulation Assistant Sharon who joined us in December. Sharon brings experience in teaching, parenting and a rich background in literature. If you need a recommendation for yourself or your child, be sure and ask her when you see her.

My love of books began at a very young age, thanks to my mother. This was perhaps the best gift she ever gave me.  

The first book I remember her reading to me was Charlotte’s Web.

This delightful E.B. White story combined my love of stories and animals. This was also the first book I ever read aloud to anyone.

My pet duck (very unoriginally named “Ducky”) was a very patient and enthusiastic listener.  

Working in a library is what I consider a “dream come true” job. It doesn’t get any better than to come to work and be surrounded by books and book lovers.

I’m often asked “What is your favorite book?” I always feel like this is asking a mother “Who is your favorite child?” I love ALL types of books! It is hard for me to choose. 

I love history, so historical fictions are high on my list.

Gone with the Wind is an oldie, but it is still one of my favorites. Killer Angels by Michael Shaara is another great historical fiction. I also enjoy a good suspense novel. David Baldacci and John Grisham are two of my favorite authors in this category.

I love to laugh, which often has me turning to books by Fannie Flagg. I grew up in small towns in North and South Carolina. She writes “small town” stories very well.

I have two sons who are now grown with families of their own. It was my mission early on to instill in them a love for reading. (And I love watching them do the same with their children!)

As a military family, we lived in so many interesting places, and there always seemed to be good books and stories related to the areas where we lived. We homeschooled our kids, and I took every opportunity to immerse our family in the local sites and sounds of each new location.

We were stationed on the East Coast for the majority of our military career and were able to visit so many historical sites.

From Washington, D.C. to Pennsylvania, South Carolina to Virginia, we journeyed to places like the Philadelphia, Valley Forge, Gettysburg’s Battlefield, and Fort Sumter. My boys were able to see first-hand locations that were a part of founding of and developing of our nation.

As they read about these places in books, the stories were all the more rich because they had visited some of these very locations and walked the streets and hillsides of the stories settings.

Inspired by Sharon’s story? Check out Bringing Up Bookmonsters The Joyful Way to Turn Your Child into a Fearless, Ravenous Reader by Amber Ankowski

After my homeschooling days came to an end, I began my career as a 4th grade teacher…which was another incredible adventure in my life. Teaching fourth graders for 14 ½ years was such fun!

The students were always up for something new…and once again, I made it a top priority to introduce my students to the wonderful world of books and well written stories. A few of our favorites were Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, Charlotte’s Web (of course), The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson, Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary, and Love that Dog by Sharon Creech.                                          

When my husband’s job relocated us to Michigan for a short period, I thought my days of teaching had come to an end.

I was wrong.

Located just around the corner from our new home was a working farm. I was hired as a farm guide to teach children all about the farm when they visited for field trips!

Talk about an amazing experience! I was right back at the beginning of my childhood, living the dream of Charlotte’s Web all over again.

I learned to drive tractors, milk goats, herd pigs, and burp turkeys (Who knew turkeys burped!!)

My favorite animals on the farm were the goats! They have so much personality and the kids are very playful.

Poppy, one of the older goats, was my favorite! She was a happy lady who always had a smile for me!

Now, here I am ~ off on a new adventure at the O’Fallon Public Library.

Stop by and see me sometime! I would love to hear about your favorite books and adventures!

More About Sharon’s Recommendations:

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson –

Laughs abound in this bestselling Christmas classic by Barbara Robinson!  The Best Christmas Pageant Ever follows the outrageous shenanigans of the Herdman siblings, or “the worst kids in the history of the world.”

The siblings take over the annual Christmas pageant in a hilarious yet heartwarming tale involving the Three Wise Men, a ham, scared shepherds, and six rowdy kids. You and your family will laugh along with this funny story, perfect for independent reading or read-aloud sharing.

Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Ollie, and Gladys Herdman are an awful bunch. They set fire to Fred Shoemaker’s toolshed, blackmailed Wanda Pierce to get her charm bracelet, and smacked Alice Wendelken across the head. And that’s just the start! When the Herdmans show up at church for the free snacks and suddenly take over the Christmas pageant, the other kids are shocked.

It’s obvious that they’re up to no good. But Christmas magic is all around and the Herdmans, who have never heard the Christmas story before, start to reimagine it in their own way.

Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary – In his letters to his favorite author, ten-year-old Leigh reveals his problems in coping with his parents’ divorce, being the new boy in school, and generally finding his own place in the world. Dear Mr. Henshaw, I wish somebody would stop stealing the good stuff out of my lunchbag. I guess I wish a lot of other things, too. I wish someday Dad and Bandit would pull up in front in the rig … Dad would yell out of the cab, “Come on, Leigh. Hop in and I’ll give you a lift to school.”

Leigh Botts has been author Boyd Henshaw’s number one fan ever since he was in second grade. Now in sixth grade, Leigh lives with his mother and is the new kid at school. He’s lonely, troubled by the absence of his father, a cross-country trucker, and angry because a mysterious thief steals from his lunchbag. Then Leigh’s teacher assigns a letter-writing project. Naturally Leigh chooses to write to Mr. Henshaw, whose surprising answer changes Leigh’s life.

Love that Dog by Sharon Creech, the Newbery Medal-winning author of Walk Two Moonsis a story with enormous heart. 

Love that Dog  shows how one boy named Jack finds his voice with the help of a teacher, a pencil, some yellow paper, and of course, a dog. Written as a series of free-verse poems from Jack’s point of view, and with classic poetry included in the back matter, this novel is perfect for kids and teachers, too.

Jack hates poetry. Only girls write it and every time he tries to, his brain feels empty. But his teacher, Miss Stretchberry, won’t stop giving her class poetry assignments—and Jack can’t avoid them. But then something amazing happens. The more he writes, the more he learns that he does have something to say.

“I guess it does
look like a poem
when you see it
typed up
like that.”

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