GUEST BLOG: The Book That Changed Her Life by Stephanie Karp

IMG_2486Today I am delighted to have my  friend Stephanie Karp writing on a subject dear to her heart: reading!  Join me as we celebrate the wonder and magic of reading and the joy of passing it on to our children. Take it away, Stephanie!

When I was 10 years old, I couldn’t draw enough books into my life.  Nancy Drew, Judy Blume, How Green Was My ValleyWhere the Red Fern Grows.  Books spilled from my dresser and they piled at the foot of my bed.  Books had to be pried from my fingers at the dinner table.  Sometimes I actually had my nose buried in a book.  I do mean this literally as I truly loved the scent of possibilities created by mere paper and ink.

So it was with alarm and shock that, as my daughter, Eden, grew up — despite seeing me with a book always in my handbag, one in the car, and a never ending pile (still!) on my nightstand — she declared to me that she was not a reader, never would be.  Nothing interested her. And would I please stop wishing it were otherwise.

Until … the book that changed her life.

Suggested by a well-read young friend, Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea was a book I purchased from our local bookstore as yet another attempt to find a book to suit my daughter.  A novel about one year in the life of a fifth grade class and told through the eyes of seven students, Because of Mr. Terupt tells the story of a class that is deeply affected by their new teacher Mr. Terupt and the tragic accident that touches all their lives.  It looked like an intriguing book to me and yet I didn’t have higher hopes than usual.

That is until the first night my daughter excused herself from the dinner table to go read her book.  And again, the next night.

Carrying the book in the hallways of her school, she told me that people (many of them teachers) would stop her in the hall to exclaim how much they, too, loved Mr. Terupt.

As Eden’s 4th grade class enjoys silent reading each day, she had a lot of time to spend with these much loved characters.  Mr. Terupt and his students were as alive and real as anyone she spent the day with at school.

Finally, after reading slowly for days savoring each page, Eden came to the final chapter.  During silent reading at school, her seat neighbor asked her if she was okay — should she get the teacher?  Eden’s breathing had quickened, her face had reddened; her chin trembled with the effort of holding back her tears.

That night, at home in bed, Eden finished the book that had changed her life.  She was finally able to understand why I loved reading so much.  Eden’s world was changed from the moment she cracked open the spine of that book and entered its’ world. The joy, the tragedy, the elation — the depth and breadth of humanity that one experiences when reading a wonderful book is what changes lives.  Eden had never allowed herself to feel this way before.  Nothing in her life had ever moved her to this degree.  The first time it happened, it was because of a book.

And so, while Eden is on to the second book of this series, I pushed aside my own pile of best sellers and have begun to read Because of Mr. Terupt.  I am eager to experience the range of emotions my daughter felt while reading the book that made her, finally and forever more, a reader.  Just like me.

Looking back on your childhood is there a book that stands out as being the very first to turn you on to reading?  And what titles stand out as life-changing for your child or children? Please share. 

IMG_1350Formerly from Brooklyn, NY, Stephanie Karp reads and creates stories from her 114 year old home in Westfield, NJ where she lives with her husband and three children.  A writer all her life, her passions include adoption advocacy, special education and a good game of tennis.    Through their event entertainment company, The Main Event, Stephanie and her husband also help throw fabulous parties — Check out


11 thoughts on “GUEST BLOG: The Book That Changed Her Life by Stephanie Karp

  1. Wonderful post, Stephanie! I have an 8 yr. old and am still waiting for that magical day when he falls in love with a book and becomes a real reader. As for books that I loved, I have to say the ones I truly remember were ones I read in high school, Catch 22, The Loved One, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre.

  2. My sisters and I grew up reading Trixie Belden and though there are many, many other books we loved – Trixie Belden takes me back to three girls engrossed in a series of books with Trixie and her family and friends and when we camped with our family we looked for things we saw through her eyes first.

  3. Stephanie, I just LOVE your post. I am still waiting for my daughter to catch the reading bug. It was Laura Ingalls Wilder who first turned me on to reading. The magic just continued for me with the Anne of Green Gables series. I want to read Because of Mr. Terupt now. Thanks so much for being my guest today!

  4. I’m so happy to be a guest blogger and to open up the dialogue about life changing books. I love hearing about the books you all loved! Keep ’em coming!

  5. Stephanie, what a beautiful post. Your love of reading and joy in seeing it blossom in your daughter really drew me in. I can’t remember a time I didn’t love reading and, as a mom, I’ve often wondered and worried when my sons didn’t seem to have much interest in books. Fortunately, this never seems to last for long and, sooner or later, something rekindles their love of reading. Thanks for a great article. So happy to see you sharing your message with the world!

  6. I was a bookworm growing up, too: Nancy Drew, The Moomins, Doctor Dolittle, anything of Thornton W. Burgess, A.A. Milne, who influenced my love for rhyming poetry. I read to my children through grade school. (A chapter a night) and gave them the bug. Now I’m seeing my grandchildren enjoy their books. I have not read Because of Mr. Terupt. But I will.

  7. Wonderful post!! I too have been a voracious reader for as long as I can remember. The first book to make me cry was Beat the Turtle Drum, 4th grade. I have also tried everything to impart my passion on my children, to no avail…I just ordered Because of Mr Terupt and if nothing else I am looking forward to reading it myself!! Keep it up Miss Eden!!!

  8. So many wonderful comments here. Stephanie, you have touched a soft spot in many hearts – reading! I look forward to reading the titles I am unfamiliar with. Thanks so much for being my guest this week. You are inspiring!

  9. Oh, how wonderful this was to hear! I’ve seen this book on the B&N shelves for a long time and have yet to pick it up. This makes it VERY compelling, so I can’t imagine I’ll pass it by the next time I’m there. SO happy about your daughter! 😀 Totally tweeting this 😀

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