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How a Love of Reading Shaped My Daughter’s Life

By Erica Dennings

Editor’s note: Thanks to Friends’ Board Director Erica Dennings, who in this special #GivingTuesday blog, interviewed her daughter, Hayley Dennings, now a young adult and a proud Friends member!

My daughter Hayley recalls that her earliest memories of reading were when she was just 3 or 4 years old. She remembers our family reading together in the designated reading corner at home. She has fond memories reading picture books and even writing stories together.

Hayley fell in love with reading books because they “transported” her to different places without actually leaving home. Some of Hayley’s favorite books as a young reader were Charlotte’s Web, Trumpet of the Swan, and the Warriors series.

Hayley has fond memories of going to the Rockridge Branch of the OPL as a child. She always felt excited to go because there were so many books to choose from. She also checked out videos for our family to watch together. Hayley enjoyed storytime, puppet shows and other special events at the library because the librarian and the other kids made it so fun.

She participated in the Summer Reading challenge. She remembers filing out the booklets and receiving prizes. Her favorite prize was ice cream – likely from Fenton’s. She thought the reading challenge was fun but not actually a challenge because she already read a lot. When she was older, Hayley and her older brother volunteered with the Summer Reading program.

Reading impacted Hayley’s life in numerous ways. Reading opened her mind and made her empathetic, gaining insight into others’ points of view. Hayley says reading helped her do well in school because it sharpened her analytical skills helping her with required school reading.

In fact, Hayley has been so influenced by reading that she now does it for a living. In May 2022, Hayley graduated from Loyola Marymount University where she double majored in English and French. In July, Hayley started a job as an editorial and marketing associate at Fable, a social reading platform where you can make book clubs, read with friends and discuss books.

Hayley has written five books, one of which she will publish. She was invited to be on the Kelly Clarkson Show to launch Clarkson’s “Stranger Reads” book segment.

Hayley’s favorite authors are Toni Morrison and Sabaa Tahir. Hayley is currently reading White Tears, Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women by Ruby Hamad.

Hayley is excited to be a new member of the Friends of the OPL. She has already been to The Bookmark and is looking forward to volunteering in the near future.

Hayley’s advice to others, “There’s a book for everyone; there are many genres and writing styles. If school didn’t light your fire about reading, read a book on a subject you love, no matter what it is. Remember there are different ways to read, like audio books.”



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