Friday, January 6, 2012


As a little girl, one of my favorite parts of summer was going to the bookmobile at the parking lot of the Albertson's Grocery Store (I know, a total book nerd thing to admit!). Every Monday afternoon, Mrs. Holly, who was as wide as the aisle of the beloved book van, would welcome us to paradise, my memories are much like those that I found in this photograph of this Brooklyn bookmobile. Mrs. Holly knew my name, knew my tastes as a reader, and would set aside books she thought I would like. I would check out as many as she'd let me take, and sometimes sneak a few extras on my sisters' cards, then I'd head home, set for the week.

Earlier this week I discovered "The Bookmobile" by Linda Sutphen in an article on the Choice Literacy website.

by Joyce Sutphen

…Even when it arrives, I have to wait.
The librarian is busy, getting out
the inky pad and the lined cards.
I pace back and forth in the line,
hungry for the fresh bread of the page,

because I need something that will tell me
what I am…

Read the rest of the poem here.

Read an interview of Joyce Sutphen, Poet Laureate of Minnesota, here.

The article where I first read the poem is a "must read" for teachers, librarians, and anyone who cares about kids and literacy. You can find it on the CHOICE LITERACY website, which is one of my favorite sources for professional learning.

And here is the Vicki Vinton's blog, where the piece originally appeared.

Poetry Friday is at Teaching Authors.


Linda B said...

Well, it's a wonderful poem that imagines books traveling down that highway, Faulkner with Dickinson and so on. I have written about the bookmobile in my life too and the woman who found books for me. It was a magical place. Thanks for this Carol. I love it!

Ruth said...

I love that -- it makes me think of my own Bookmobile memories.

Mary Lee said...

Thanks for sending me back to that blog post. I read it, but didn't focus as much as you did on this poem in it. Looking back through your eyes gave it so much more meaning!

david elzey said...

even though i had a school library, a town library, and local branches in my neighborhood (barely the size of studio apartment some of them) i was always jealous we didn't have bookmobiles. perhaps it was growing up in LA where my expectation that everything could and should be delivered by vehicles -- we had a bread truck that also delivered donuts, and ice cream trucks, so why not books?

my kids marvel today that you used to have to have books checked out and stamped by hand.

thanks for bringing this poem (and memory) to light.