When Sophie’s family moves from New York City to West Virginia, she not only has to leave her friends and the city and library she loves so much, but she has to figure out what will happen when she discovers that there is no library in her new town. But when she discovers something called a bookmobile and other new treasures, all is right with the world.
As Sophie and her parents traveled from New York City to Victor-y, West Virginia, the eight-hour drive in their packed-to-the-gills SUV didn’t seem as tedious as Sophie had originally thought it would be. They drove through the maddening New Jersey Turnpike, then through Pennsylvania and Maryland, and finally entered the northern part of the state of West Virginia. As they traveled across the land, the mountains shimmered as if they were a mirage; Sophie felt like she was coming home, even though she had never lived there. Once they had crossed into West Virginia and saw signs announcing West Virginia University, Sophie began to play the tape in her head with a more manic fast-forward than ever before, daydreaming of being a student at WVU and rooting on those Mountaineers. She might even one day go on a date with the school’s mascot. These daydreams she kept to herself. And suddenly, in thinking about going on a date, which she never had before, she thought about Pepper.
A few days before, Sophie and Pepper had said good-bye for the last time. Sophie was thankful that she was in the backseat of the car, with only Snowball to see her tears fall. She and Pepper had often met their friends Jenny, Sam, Nick, and Nat at the Starbucks on the corner of 96th and Lexington, sharing madeleines and sipping strawberry Frappuccinos—except for Nat, who always ordered an iced decaf green tea. Pepper’s chocolate dachshund, Charlie, sat at their feet.
Charlie was the only dog she’d ever known who smiled. When he waddled down the street, everyone smiled at him and he smiled back. The clerk at the dry-cleaning service across the street from Starbucks smiled at Charlie, the taxi drivers beeped
their horns at Charlie, and the owner of The Corner Market always brought Charlie a dish of water to lap up. Even George, the apartment building concierge, had a treat for Charlie whenever Pepper took him out for a walk. And every time the group walked through Central Park with Charlie, all the other dogs would gather around him as if they had all been invited to a party in the park, needing nothing more than Charlie to be there. He didn’t do much of anything, but he seemed to draw all the other dogs to him as if he had more to offer than he did.
As they made their way through West Virginia, Sophie kept returning to the one simple, but at the same time very complex, realization that where they were headed had no library. Again, she found herself asking the same question: “What?! No library?!” Sophie closed her eyes and recalled climbing the steps and passing between the lions, approaching the massive and yet so very inviting front doors of the New York Public Library, knowing that they knew her and she knew them so very well. She knew the security guards just inside the doors of the magnificent building by name. Joseph was often there in the afternoon, and Thomas, who was so skinny that if he turned sideways you just might miss him, was there mostly on the weekends.
“Good morning, Miss Sophie,” they would say with so much enthusiasm that you’d think it was her first visit to the library and that she was someone very important. Sophie would reply, “Good morning to you!” Then she would make her way to the children’s department, stopping first to glance through the windows of the gift shop to see what she might add to her Christmas or birthday or Easter wish list: socks with books stitched on them, pencils (because you can never have enough pencils, and they make great stocking stuffers) that had been stamped with The New York Public Library in gold, canvas tote bags with the lions painted on them, and t-shirts and puzzles, and books and books and more books. When she walked through the doors of the children’s department, she stopped first to greet the original characters of Winnie the Pooh—each delicate stuffed toy seeming to greet her in return with a secretive wink. She would especially miss seeing Piglet. Suddenly Sophie slid over next to Snowball, snuggling underneath the calico quilt that Snowball alone had claimed, the varied colors of green glistening off the sun’s rays as they fell across the mountains in the not-too-distant terrain.
Thank you, Kathleen M. Jacobs and RABT Book Tours
About the author
Kathleen M. Jacobs is the author of the critically-acclaimed YA-novel, Honeysuckle Holiday and Betsy Blossom Brown. Her other works include Marble Town, a book for the MG-reader. Her first children’s book, Please Close It! has enjoyed numerous awards, and her chapbooks The Puppeteer of Objects: A Lyrical Poem and Collected Curiosities: Poems, Essays & Opinions offer insights into human behavior and understanding. She is a former teacher of English and Creative Writing, and holds a M. A. in Humanistic Studies. She was the 2017 New River Gorge Writer-in-Residence.