BATESVILLE, Ark. — It was the biggest challenge that can possibly occur on the Reading Road Trip: reading to junior high. (Cue the dramatic music).

7th, 8th, and 9th graders gathered in the media room to hear Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. The novel is narrated by a child in a wheelchair who cannot verbalize but feels all the things junior high kids feel. 

And while only the first two chapters were read, the story of the girl who communicates so well in her writing but not being able to speak captivated the middle schoolers. 

Reassuringly, reading the first two chapters basically set the scene for the meaning of the book. The word came back that after lunch the students demanded to hear chapters three and four. Ahhh the power of story.

Just down the road, at the Batesville Elementary school, a small group of first graders gathered to hear The Giant Chicken of Portugal.

Again, this story is narrated by a young girl with a tremendous imagination. It reinforced the notion that the most powerful room in any school is the library.

Books power the imagination which powers the world.

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