Nacim, a Youth Services Librarian at Yellow Springs Community Library, loved hearing stories growing up—from traditional bedtime stories her Persian grandmother would tell, to tales of the trickster god Anansi that her uncle from Cote d’Ivoire would share. “My uncle would tell Anansi stories, and we would feel so full after,” she recalls.
Both of those are oral storytelling traditions. Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey helped Nacim love the stories that came from books as well.
Blueberries is about a young girl who gets separated from her mother while picking blueberries—and a bear cub who does the same. “I loved the rhythm of the book,” Nacim says, recalling the “kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk” sounds the berries made as Sal dropped them into a tin pail. “You can almost make that musical.”
Music was also a part of her life—Nacim’s father played piano and his parents had been musicians in Ireland. The rhythms of Blueberries for Sal helped build a bridge from those auditory experiences to books that remains strong to this day.