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Hello, readers!

Updated: Jul 20, 2022

This is your new library columnist. If you’re a frequent patron of the library, you probably read in last week’s paper that Roz Weedman has passed the baton after 11 years of weekly library columns. I’d say she’s earned a well-deserved break.

My name is Chelsea Keat, formerly Chelsea Smith. I am a Frankenmuth native, graduating

class of 2006. Go Eagles! My husband, Jim, and I have two boys, Loren (22 months) and Kai (4 months) as well as three cats.

In July of 2019, I graduated from the University of Maine’s Stonecoast MFA Program in Creative Nonfiction Writing, and I will be teaching English at Delta College this fall. I have ten years of experience as a writing coach and a growing passion for helping people of all ages become better writers. I’m sure you already know this, but one of the best ways to become a better writer is to become an avid reader.

Some of my first memories at the Frankenmuth Wickson District Library were piling in the car

with my mom and two siblings to go pick up our summer reading logs. Even as a young girl, I

loved a good check list. I was motivated to fill in the blanks of the reading log with the book titles I was devouring, and then there was the excitement of returning to the library for a prize. While I wasn’t always thrilled about it at the time, I’m grateful my mom required us to read for a minimum of twenty minutes a day throughout the summer. The aimless, often unmoored days of summer heralded the promise of a good book, providing structure and routine as I sprawled out under the shade of a birch tree, or retreated into the cool, air-conditioned house to clock my time. One of the perks of this required reading was that I’d just be finding my groove and sinking into the story when my time was up, so all I wanted to do was to keep going. And isn’t that so often the case in life? Most of the time, we just need a little nudge to begin and then we are well on our way. I’m certain that those summers of reading were formative in shaping the reader and writer I am today. Well done, Mom. And thank you.

Now, some twenty years later, I am the mother working to impress a love of reading into the

fabric of her children’s lives. I read to my boys every day. It’s one of my favorite times to be with my rambunctious toddler because he willingly plops himself down onto my lap for a special snuggle time. Okay, sometimes he’s climbing on me, making “choo choo" noises while manipulating a toy train, or quite literally tearing the house apart, but we are still reading! And even when a book doesn’t capture his entire attention, he’ll pop over to admire an occasional illustration, point out a familiar object with an accompanying word, or chime in with an answer to a question. Their little ears are always listening, aren’t they?

At night, we sit in the rocking chair reading together before bed and he requests, “More books, more books.” This is Loren’s favorite time to read, or at the very least, it is the time of day when he’s most likely to sit still and read for a good chunk of time. While this may be part of a procrastination scheme to stall his bedtime (is he even capable of that yet?) I can’t think of a better way to spend the evening. And when it’s really time for bed, I turn off the light with the promise of more books tomorrow.

So yes, I will be occasionally be highlighting my favorite children’s literature—there are so many good children’s books out there!—but I also promise to read deeply and widely with you, across all genres. I’m sure you’ll get to know me through each column, and I’m hoping I have the chance to get to know you too. As my predecessor Roz Weedman so faithfully said, “See you at the library!”

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