“Of course, it took a while to get to this place…”

Chris: Tell us a little about yourself. What was it that directed you to a life dedicated to books?

Nancy Pearl: I spent most of my childhood and adolescence at the Detroit Public Library branch closest to my house, primarily to get away from a not very happy home. The librarians Miss Whitehead and Miss Long were the nicest people I knew. It’s due to them, especially Miss Whitehead, that I became a children’s librarian, because I wanted to give other children the gift that she gave me the wonderful world of books and reading. I knew when I was 10 that I wanted to become a children’s librarian, and I only wavered from that very briefly. In my senior year of college I became infatuated with Noam Chomsky’s theory of transformational grammar. I thought maybe I should go to MIT in order to study with him and get a PhD, but then reason prevailed. I really don’t have that kind of mind and would never have been happy in academia. Robert Frost talks in “The Death of the Hired Man,” I think, about “when love and work are one” and I’m one of the few people I know who’s been able to make a career doing exactly what I love. Of course, it took a while to get to this place…

“‘When Love and Work Are One’ – Nancy Pearl Talks about her New Book Series, and Much More,” Shelfari

It’s always comforting when you realize that success didn’t come overnight for people that you admire.


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