We’re so excited to announce that our very own Harlem North West 8th grader, Amaris Asiedu, won the Third Annual Young Readers Prize! The prize, awarded by the Harvard Library in New York in partnership with the Chapman Perelman Foundation, selected three students who exemplify a true passion for reading. Entrants were asked to submit a short essay responding to inspirational quotes about books and reading. Judges looked for responses that demonstrated thoughtfulness and a deep love of reading for its own sake.
In her essay, responding to a Stephen King quote, “Books are a uniquely portable magic,” Amaris beautifully articulated a deep love of reading, a love that we aspire to instill in every SA scholar through immersion in great books and daily independent reading — starting in kindergarten. Her passion for reading was recognized in a celebration at the Harvard Library’s Gordon Reading Room. Renowned American author and humorist Fran Lebowitz addressed the winners and presented them with a curated selection of books. Amaris also received a $250 gift certificate to Strand Bookstore, just in time for summer reading!
We hope you’re as inspired by her essay as we were. Happy reading!
Portal to Another World: An Ode to Books
By: Amaris Asiedu
My arm delicately glides towards the spines of each world.
My eyes voraciously devour the titles of each adventure I will take next.
My fingers eagerly grasp for a book, a start to a new journey.
I open the book and as my eyes consume the words on every page. The black ink from the page dances around me. The world of reality disappears from around me as I fall down the rabbit hole of my imagination, an out of body experience. My spirit leaves the physical world I know and transports to a world full of fantasy, thriller, mystery, horror, the world of stories.
A world full of “it’s elementary my dear Watson.”
A world full of luminescent stars where I can fly, a place where I can soar and graze the midnight sky.
A world where there is mystery, misery, hope, and joy right with the turn of each page.
At every bend, I dive deeper into the core of each glorious creation of pure genius, with every chapter I experience jubilation, irritation, sadness, an overload of emotions within.
A world dripping with imagination, a world worth salivating.
With the turn of each page, I wander deeper into this world called my imagination. With each word, my mind continues to stroll down the roads of creativity and the abstract world.
Each page is an overload of my senses, an explosion of sight, taste, hearing, touch, and smell.
A world where I hold the key, a world that can only be accessed through me.
When my eyes flutter open all I see is the physical world around me and that is when I realize I never left the room, it was all in my imagination.
Cover Photo: Amaris Asiedu (center left) was awarded Harvard Library’s Young Readers Prize