A Bookworm's Exchange

You grow up never knowing who will make the most impact in your life until you reach a certain age and then you hear that someone’s died and it hits you. They shaped your life in ways you didn’t even notice before. That's what Miss Bev of The Bookworms' Exchange did. She shaped my life in ways I'm just discovering now that she's dead.
Beverly Brown ran a used bookstore that my family frequented every time we drove to Burlington, Vermont. We lived in small-town St Albans, Vermont and Burlington was and still is the bustling city where everything happens. And Miss Bev had The Bookworms' Exchange where you could bring in your read books and she’d give you store credit for other books. Why am I explaining the concept of an used book store to y’all? Anyways. I grew up in The Bookworms' Exchange and Miss Bev was always recommending books to me. I’d burst through the door – because I was a wild child and never did anything calmly back then, and run up to the counter where she’d be reading crocheting something for charity and I’d ask her what book she thought I’d like. And sometimes she’d have a book or two stashed under the counter with a note on them with “Miss Margo” written on it and they’d be definite buys for that trip. Even after we started moving around the Eastern Seaboard, we’d make it back home every now and then, and we’d stop by Miss Bev’s place and I’d come bursting through that door same as always and she’d still remember me, even on my last trip home when I was a week away from turning 13. She still remembered me and she still had the best book suggestions for me.
She introduced me to so many amazing books that took me to far off places and different worlds, and as a kid going through absolute hell, that was a wonderful gift she gave to me and I can honestly never repay that debt.
Every time I buy gifts for kids, it's always books because of Miss Bev. Every time I walk into a used bookstore, I think of Miss Bev's place. Every time I start writing a review for this site, I think about all of the books and authors Miss Bev introduced me to. I constantly weeble wobble between becoming an ACA accredited librarian and owning a cafe/bookstore and it's in great part because of Miss Bev. Miss Bev made a major impact on my life and I never got to tell her that because I stopped going home.
But what I realised just recently was, she also impacted my life in another way. She also crafted for charity and I never really put it together with my thing. Next time I'm asked why I mainly knit for charity, I won’t answer with “otherwise, I’d be buried in finished projects”. I’ll answer with “because a bookworm taught me to”. I didn’t know it, but she did. Miss Bev's final act of charity was to request that instead of sending flowers, people donate to the Children’s Literacy Foundation that serves Vermont and New Hampshire or to the Chittenden County Humane Society.
This post was written while I was crying and there’s like, no editing, but Miss Bev was an amazing woman and she will live on in the hearts of every bookworm she helped create and I wanted to do something to say she was a part of my creation. In memorium of Miss Bev, I present to you, my first book list - in no particular order.
10 Books Recommended by Miss Bev
 Goodreads links are in the covers as usual!

 Wolfwalker by Tara K Harper
Dion was a healer and a wolfwalker, and the unique telepathic bond that she shared with the wolf Gray Hishn sometimes seemed to amplify her sensitivity to her patients. But she never guessed how strong that bond could be, or what kind of power it could wield, until she found herself lost in the wilderness, with angry slavers at her heels and war on the horizon. Suddenly she and her fellow travelers were fighting for their lives in the snowy winter wastes, where the wolves were their only guides, the greatest secret of the ancients their only salvation...and Dion their only hope to survive.
 Redwall by Brian Jacques
As the inhabitants of Redwall Abbey bask in the glorious Summer of the Late Rose, all is quiet and peaceful. But things are not as they seem. Cluny the Scourge, the evil one-eyed rat warlord, is hell-bent on destroying the tranquility as he prepares to fight a bloody battle for the ownership of Redwall. This dazzling story in the Redwall series is packed with all the wit, wisdom, humor, and blood-curdling adventure of the other books in the collection, but has the added bonus of taking the reader right back to the heart and soul of Redwall Abbey and the characters who live there.
 Nemesis by Louise Cooper
This first book of the series establishes the setting for the following seven. Princess Anghara had no place in the Forbidden Tower, and no business tampering with its secrets. But she did, and now the seven demons are loose and her world is cursed, prey to the wrath of the Earth Goddess.

 Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Andrew "Ender" Wiggin thinks he is playing computer simulated war games; he is, in fact, engaged in something far more desperate. The result of genetic experimentation, Ender may be the military genius Earth desperately needs in a war against an alien enemy seeking to destroy all human life. The only way to find out is to throw Ender into ever harsher training, to chip away and find the diamond inside, or destroy him utterly. Ender Wiggin is six years old when it begins. He will grow up fast.
But Ender is not the only result of the experiment. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway almost as long. Ender's two older siblings, Peter and Valentine, are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. While Peter was too uncontrollably violent, Valentine very nearly lacks the capability for violence altogether. Neither was found suitable for the military's purpose. But they are driven by their jealousy of Ender, and by their inbred drive for power. Peter seeks to control the political process, to become a ruler. Valentine's abilities turn more toward the subtle control of the beliefs of commoner and elite alike, through powerfully convincing essays. Hiding their youth and identities behind the anonymity of the computer networks, these two begin working together to shape the destiny of Earth-an Earth that has no future at all if their brother Ender fails.
 Acorna: the Unicorn Girl by Anne McCaffrey
"Something's Alive In There!"
She was just a little girl, with a tiny horn in the center of her forehead, funny-looking feet, beautiful silver hair, and several curious powers: the ability to purify air and water, make plants grow, and heal scars and broken bones. A trio of grizzled prospectors found her drifting in an escape pod amid the asteroids, adopted her, and took her to the bandit planet Kezdet, a place where no questions are asked and the girl might grow up free.
But Kezdet has its own dark secret. The prosperity of the planet is based on a hideous trade in child slave labor, administered by "The Piper" -- a mystery man with special plans for Acorna and her powers. But free little girls have a way of growing into freedom-loving young women, and Acorna has special plans all her own. . .
 Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
No one ever told Margaret Simon that eleven-going-on-twelve would be such a hard age. When her family moves to New Jersey, she has to adjust to life in the suburbs, a different school, and a whole new group of friends. Margaret knows she needs someone to talk to about growing up-and it's not long before she's found a solution.
 The Giver by Lois Lowry
Twelve-year-old Jonas lives in a seemingly ideal world. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver does he begin to understand the dark secrets behind this fragile community.
 Dragon's Blood by Jane Yolen
Dragons are trained to fight to the death, and two determined teens help free them in this spellbinding saga.
Training a dragon to be a fighting champion is the only way to freedom for fifteen-year-old Jakkin.
 Ronia, the Robber's Daughter by Astrid Lindgren
Ronia, who lives with her father and his band of robbers in a castle in the woods, causes trouble when she befriends the son of a rival robber chieftain.
 Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C Wrede
Cimorene is everything a princess is not supposed to be: headstrong, tomboyish, smart - and bored. So bored that she runs away to live with a dragon - and finds the family and excitement she's been looking for.

Read in Peace, Miss Bev.

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