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  • Writer's pictureBenay Hicks

Choose Your Own Adventure

My first Book Harvest experience: at Books on Break in 2014, volunteering with my kids, Luke (in the orange shirt next to Ginger), and Anastasia (in my arms right behind)

By Daniele Berman, Communications and Events Manager

This picture is from my very first Book Harvest moment: volunteering at Books on Break in 2014 with my kids in tow. I think of that experience as the start of the story of the past six years: the introduction to my very own Choose Your Own Adventure book.

Remember those books? You read a little bit, then you (as the main character) are faced with a choice to make; and depending on your choice, you turn to a certain page and the story continues. If you loved those books as much as I did as a kid, you may also have read each book enough times to memorize the “best” choices, the ones that made the story last as long as possible, so you could put off turning to the inevitable “The End” page. (That strategy is a great way to stall at bedtime, as my own children also figured out. Yours probably have, too.)

When Ginger invited me to join her Book Harvest adventure in 2014, I had no idea what story lay ahead for me and for us as a team. There were so many decisions to make, so many opportunities to figure out the “best” choice that would lead to the longest, most successful adventure. So many pages to turn! So many twists and surprises and challenges and chapters. Throughout this six-year adventure, I have met and worked with the best people — staff and volunteers alike — and learned so much from each one of you. My whole family has lived our critical mission, so much so that my book-loving youngest daughter, just a toddler when I joined the Book Harvest team, has often said she wants to be a “book harvester” when she grows up. Our organization has grown from just a handful of people with some clever big dreams into a powerful force for change in our community. I daresay our ever-growing team has made some pretty amazing choices, given where our adventure has come to so far, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity I have had to be a part of that adventure.

But just like in the Choose Your Own Adventure books of our childhoods, no matter how carefully plotted and successful your choices may be, your character eventually comes to the end of her story. After six amazing years, I’ve reached the end of my adventure at Book Harvest, and I’m off to start a new story.

Any book lover knows the feeling of finishing a really great book, the best book. You know the one: you just can’t donate it or even loan it to a friend because it’s one you need to keep close by on your shelf where you can see it and hold it and flip through it anytime you want to.

As I reach the end of my final chapter in this story, you can bet I’ll be keeping my Book Harvest Choose Your Own Adventure book right on my bedside table, at the top of the stack.

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