The coolest place I’ve ever read in was Cube City, a wood structure third- and fourth-graders got to use at Stonebridge Elementary. You could read on the ground floor, on the next floor up, or all the way up on the third and top floor. The structure was divided into mini apartments, or cubes—hence the name Cube City—each probably four feet high and four feet across each side. You’d climb ladders of stained wood to get to the upper floors, right next to the ceiling, and you could drag a bean bag up there with you. It was a marvelous place—a chance to get out of school even when they were in school. It felt like another world. Occasionally, students fell off the top floor and got hurt. At that time, though, students, parents, and teachers were willing to take on the small risk of injury in favor of giving kids a special place to visit even as their books spirited them away with the characters they loved. In Cube City, as I read the Great Brain books, the Lemonade Trick series, and anything by the great Roald Dahl, I further fell in love with reading—with where it took me, what it taught me, and above all else how it entertained me. These were the only years of my life when I was often behind on my school work—and it wasn’t because I was goofing around, causing trouble, or rousing rabble; it was because once I entered Cube City and began reading, I just couldn’t go back to a few lousy math problems.
Now I’m months away from seeing my own novel (Dizzy Fantastic and Her Flying Bicycle, Cedar Fort, August 2010) on bookstore shelves. I hope readers enjoy living Dizzy’s adventures, even if their reading spots aren’t as dangerous as my Cube City.
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