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By Sara Downton, Grade 8, St. Paul's Intermediate School, Gander, NL

"The beast, too, could see it's way. It was getting angry. It's snarl seemed to come from everywhere and, suddenly, there it was, standing only a few meters in front of Charlie. It's eyes were a glowing, luminous yellow, and its bristling snout was drawn back to reveal long, shining fangs. Charlie stood motionless, waiting for the beast to leap..."

I bet you're curious about what's going to happen next. That's what one, just one paragraph of a book can do. You get hooked on it. You just have to know what is going to happen, what the end result is going to be.

The excerpt I just read is from a novel called "Midnight for Charlie Bone", by Jenny Nimmo. It's a book I recently read, and really enjoyed. Then again there aren't many books I don't enjoy as reading is one of my favorite things to do.

My name is Sara, and I love reading. Books about fantasy and magic are my favorite, but I like mostly anything. I read my very first book when I was two, and I've read a lot since then.

Some people think reading is boring, a waste of time. They complain every time they have to do a book report, groan if the teacher assigns a class novel, and during silent reading they do everything but read.

Me? I don't mind doing book reports, if it was a good book, and I don't mind listening to the teacher read, as long as the book is interesting. As for silent reading, when the teacher says time is up I'm usually begging for five more minutes. Even if I do get more time, it still isn't enough, and as soon as I finish my work I pick my book right back up.

When you start reading a good book the world around you washes away. You become a character in the book, whether it be a cat, a dog, an astronaut or a dancer; it's all fascinating. You can see through the characters eyes, hear their thoughts and feel what they feel. When I read books like this I can't see or hear anything besides what the characters are looking at, and what they're saying.

A good book can also take you to another place, a magical world, a fifth grade classroom, or Italy in the 1700's. If you pause while you're reading and close your eyes, when you open them again you are where the characters are. All of a sudden you're running down an old, cobbled path, escaping from the evil demon who wants the magical colored stone in your pocket and - see where reading can take you?

Books can also give you knowledge, every book you read leads you to learn something new, which makes you wonder, and that makes you want to read more books to get answers. There's information packed into every novel; math answers, science experiments, historic events, things discovered in the past and predictions for the future. Mystery books can help you figure out ways to solve problems, mystical books make you think and wonder, and other books have information on just about every topic in the world.

To read a book is like dreaming. You get to go somewhere different, almost magical. Everything is so unpredictable, yet so exciting. But in a dream, just as you're about to get to very the best part - it ends. In a book when you get to the best part, it doesn't end. The book continues through the best part and probably gets even better as it comes to an end. Reading opens up your imagination. It gives you ideas, answers and encourages you to make things happen.

I'm sure you've all heard the saying, "don't judge a book by it's cover". Well, it's true, metaphorically and literally. If you just look at the front of a book you may never know what adventure, mystery or ideas it holds inside. If I judged books by their covers I probably never would have read half the novels that are some of my favorites today. I must admit that I have put some books back on the shelves because their covers weren't very appealing, but I usually read what's inside the book before I decide whether I like it or not. Recommendations from reviews, teachers and classmates have also gotten me curious about certain novels and a lot of the good books I've read I probably wouldn't have noticed if it weren't for they're comments.

Reading is pretty much the key to your future, whether you're reading a 400-page novel, a chapter in math or a newspaper advertisement, you're getting information that can most likely be useful for you in the future.

So maybe you're interested in becoming a lawyer, or a doctor, or an inventor. No matter what you want to do. You have to read, because every time you open a book, you open your imagination.


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