The unsung heroes of children's literature are often the librarians who day in and day out lovingly read, tend, shelve and recommend the books that help to shape our children. And even better are the children's book librarians who lend their own voices to tell our kids a story. These are the storytellers that children gather around and listen to... some of these magical heroes even sing and play music and dance. All to teach and entertain little ones they know only for childhood's short time. I want to take a moment today to acknowledge the passing of a great one.
Ginger Payne, or as her lap-sitters knew her, Miss Ginger. She was the storyteller at our local library... a true civil rights hippie and eccentric who drove a hand painted art car and strummed songs and read stories to children and worked tirelessly in the libraries of San Antonio for 26 years. She was quiet and sweet and patient, handpicking tales to spin and strumming on her guitar for any child lucky enough to toddler into Landa Library.
Ten years back, Ginger suffered from a stoke that left her largely disabled and was preceded in death by her only son, who died shortly after his college graduation in 2003. All you mothers out there can imagine the sort of devastation she must have experienced at that loss, but she continued to work and sing and give her gift for storytelling to the children of San Antonio. She will be missed greatly.
So, do me a favor. When you hit the library this week, give your librarian a hug. I shudder to thing what an empty and sad place this world would be without their passion for children and the books they love.
Thank you Miss Ginger, wherever you are.
Picture from the "Miss Ginger for the 'I Love My Librarian' Award" Facebook page.