Today a Reader, Tomorrow a Leader
Emerson and Dre’son Champagne have loved reading from an early age… since the day their very first book from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library arrived.
Emerson, now 6, and Dre’son, almost 12, remember the excitement of receiving their books in the mail, flipping through the brightly colored pages and enjoying time alone with mom and dad, reading and laughing together as a family. This excitement of reading soon grew into something that could not be contained within their home. Dre’son began excelling in reading at school and Emerson began falling asleep with books in her bed, making up her own stories to go along with the pictures.
As Dre’son moved from school to school, he continued to read everything he could find and now, in 6th grade, he reads on an 11th grade reading level and ranks in the top ten of his classmates in his reading level. While Dre’son has been blessed with amazing teachers and schools, he never remained in any one reading program longer than a year or two as he moved schools each year from 2nd grade through 6th grade. Some schools participated in Accelerated Reader, others did not. Some schools read leveled readers, others did not.
Programs changed, but one thing remained … Dre’son’s passion for books.
His mom and dad contribute this passion to the very first seed planted in their son’s young hands, the books that arrived at his home via “The Imagination Library”, sparking his interest and igniting his excitement to read more and more. As Dre’son entered Kindergarten and stopped receiving his books from “The Imagination Library”, Emerson was born and began receiving hers.
As her brother’s, Emerson’s love of reading began and she quickly wanted to share her love with others. At the age of 5, the summer before her Kindergarten year, Emerson told her mom she wanted to share her Imagination Library books with others. They began sharing by donating to local schools and daycares, but Emerson had something else in mind. She told her mom she wanted her own library. She wanted to share with those in the community and speak to them about how much she loves reading.
As discussions began about Emerson’s vision, a precious friend offered to build Emerson’s Library. Emerson will be forever grateful to David and Gail Garrett who purchased supplies, built and painted the small library and delivered it to her home. She couldn’t have been more excited! With her mom’s assistance, Emerson cemented the post of the library into a flower pot, planted flowers around the base and began shelving her books… and her library began!
Emerson’s library now sits on the curb outside her home in Southside. Numerous families drive through and neighborhood children ride their bikes by to borrow books from Emerson’s library. She loves adding surprises to her library such as Seuss tattoos and bookmarks for her patrons. Her library recently received its charter number and is the first chartered “My Little Free Library” in Etowah County.
THANK YOU to United Way and the sponsors of the Success by 6 program from the Champagne Family for creating life-long readers and children who are excited to share their love for learning and give back to their community.