The Smell of Books

I was not a good grade school student. It was hard for me to follow a classroom lesson. I was always distracted and lost in my own world. My teachers didn’t “get” me.

Thus, whenever I was called upon to answer serious questions in class, I would suffer a minor brain seizure then announce clearly that I had to go pee.

“Slow” was the word they used on kids like us. If you weren’t sharp, you were slow. Which meant you were, more or less, as bright as a box of mud. I once overheard a teacher tell another teacher I was slow. She meant no harm. Which only made it worse.

But it didn’t matter. Once this word is attached to you it’s all over. After this, all you want in life is to feel un-stupid. You would do almost anything to prove that you are un-stupid.

Don’t misunderstand me, all my teachers weren’t like this. One of my school teachers actually understood me. She came up with an idea to help me learn.

I came to school one morning and my desk was outfitted with crayons and paper.

She said, “I want you to color pictures during my lesson. I don’t want you looking at me, and I DEFINITELY don’t want you paying attention.”

This felt like a trick. But I followed her advice. And when her lesson finished, she called me to her desk to ask questions related to her lesson.

To my own amazement I COULD ANSWER HER QUESTIONS! I had somehow paid attention to every word she said while coloring.

It was a miracle. I was pronounced to be un-stupid. I made perfect grades all year.

But it was short lived. By fifth grade, I was back to being a mouth breather again. I had a teacher who didn’t like me. She ended up putting me in the remedial class with a few other kids. We were all believed to be about as quick witted as advanced fungal life.

I ended up failing fifth grade altogether. And this just wrecked my confidence. Because now I had proof that I was slow.

What was wrong with me? I wanted to be smart. I wanted my teachers to like me. I wanted to make good grades. But it just never happened.

I’m not feeling sorry for myself, I just want you to know the context before I finish my story. That way you’ll understand why I dropped out in the seventh grade after my father died.

Shortly after my father’s death, I decided I was finished with school. Looking back, I don’t think I could even tell you why I did it. Stupidity, I guess.

And I would have kept ruining my own life if it hadn’t been for one fateful summer afternoon. I was 14. I walked into a small building that was full of books. Glorious books. I have always been intoxicated by the smell of books.

It was a quiet room, with creaky floors, and an elderly lady seated behind a library desk surrounded by books.

“Help you?” she said.

“Just looking around.”

“For anything in particular?”

I shrugged.

She removed her reading glasses and smiled. This woman knew my kind. She knew kids like me. The species of child who drops out of school was not unfamiliar to her. She probably even knew my shoe size.

The old woman led me to the fiction shelves. And it was here where I was reborn. Without asking, she removed novel by novel and gave them to me. She said things like, “You’ll like this one.” And, “The plot starts off slow, but it’s worth it.”

I arrived at the counter with a mountain of reading material. I didn’t even know what I was supposed to do next. Was I supposed to pay this woman?

“No, honey,” she said. “You take the books home.”

Home? What? They were just going to GIVE ME THESE BOOKS? Were these people nutty? What a deal.

So I filled out an information packet and the woman handed me a white card with my signature on it. My library card was the first formal ID I ever had. I still have it.

Next, she stamped the backs of each book and handed them to me. She said, “I’ll see YOU in a few weeks.”


I took the books home. I read each one. Front to back. I returned them to the library, and the woman had another pile waiting for me. So I read those, too.

It was during one such visit that this woman, busy stamping my books, said, “You know, you must be pretty smart, reading all these books.”

I felt my face turn strawberry red. Because she was wrong about me. Everyone knew that. Even so, it felt good to hear nice words.

In fact, I still replay those words whenever I doubt myself. And I replayed those words all throughout college as an adult. I replay them because it’s amazing what simple words can do for a person.

Especially when those words are said by a librarian.

Anyway, yesterday a brown package arrived in my mailbox. I went to check the mail. It was from my publisher. I sliced open the cardboard and inside was a new novel. Not yet released. With my name on it.

I held it in my hands just to feel the weight of it. I smelled the new paper. I ran my finger along the letters. No matter how old I get, I will always be the same kid inside.

My lower lip started getting shaky. My nose clogged.

Because I’ve never felt so un-stupid in all my life.


  1. Pat - October 9, 2020 6:37 am

    There’s nothing like the smell of a book. Whether it’s an old or new book it’s smell has lots to tell you. A kindle can’t do that. That’s why I stick to books.

  2. heatheranne100Heather - October 9, 2020 6:51 am

    You move me Sean Dietrich.

  3. Marilyn Vance - October 9, 2020 9:14 am

    You are SO un-stupid……you couldn’t reach the hearts of people with your writing if you weren’t! Congratulations on the new book!

  4. Lori Klein - October 9, 2020 9:15 am

    Congratulations Sean. I’m so proud of you.

  5. Teresa M. White - October 9, 2020 9:29 am

    I was told I’d never amount to anything when I was a child. I’m now able to smile when I remember the day that was spoken over me. It wasn’t true then and its not true now. I just had to have my own “Library Lady” moment. Enjoyed this story of confidence and confirmation.

  6. Evelyn Mann-Wilder - October 9, 2020 9:40 am

    Bless those teachers and librarians who “get” kids like you. And kudos to you and yours that you finally found the real you because you were always meant to be the gift that you are in this world.

  7. Christine G - October 9, 2020 10:07 am

    After Covid restrictions lift, I hope you will take your show on the road—into schools. Kids need to hear your story. Would you like to visit mine? I’m the librarian.

  8. Ann - October 9, 2020 10:29 am

    Ohhhhh yes!
    Even though I read you on line….I buy books…I love the smell and FEEL of a book in my hand…..but reading any type is “ smart”….. you have paid attention to some very wise people in your life…and you are sharing that wisdom in many ways….blessings

  9. Dartinia Hull - October 9, 2020 10:32 am

    You and me, spirit animals. I am very proud of you.
    Fellow writer, Dartinia

  10. David Feder - October 9, 2020 10:36 am

    Well, you made this jaded old guy tear up again. From one writer to another, you are not only smart, you are truly gifted.

  11. Charlie Mathers - October 9, 2020 10:43 am

    It’s kinda nice when somebody notices isn’t it…❤️

  12. Debbie Hughett - October 9, 2020 10:52 am

    ❤love the smell of books. ❤ the feel of the corner of a page as I am turning to the next.

    You, sir, are not only smart…you are wise, also.

  13. Joanne Viola - October 9, 2020 10:53 am

    Congratulations on your new book!!! And there is nothing like the smell of a book – new or old 🙂 Nor the sound of turning the pages. Wonderful, wonderful story!

  14. Barbara Zuleski - October 9, 2020 10:55 am

    Thank you Sean, I so been where you were, but back in the 40’s and 50’s, it was not until my third year of High school, that a kindly councilor, knew the word dyslexic, and I bloomed…. you as always are an inspiration.

  15. Robert M Brenner - October 9, 2020 11:08 am

    The right teacher can make a difference in a young life! Thanks to all the librarians and teachers who do just that. Thanks Mrs. Whipple ❤️

  16. MR - October 9, 2020 11:08 am

    A great lesson on why we should never label people. We all have so much more potential than our labels. My teachers labeled me when I was a young student and the shame that came with that label still rears its ugly head every once in a while. Thank God for people who enter our lives that rip those labels off and unleash us to become our full potential. Sean, you are amazing with words and you have only begun to realize your full potential. I’m so glad you walked into that building full of books and met that librarian.

  17. Jess Rawls - October 9, 2020 11:16 am

    Sean, I felt your pain about being called “slow” by a teacher. More than sixty years ago one of my aunts said to another aunt, that I was “always backwards.” She said that when I was standing right next to both of them. I believe the word “backwards” meant the same as shy or bashful. I don’t think she was being mean or unkind, but I’ve never forgotten her words and it still stings…but not as much as it did sixty years ago.

  18. ROSEMARY FORSTROM - October 9, 2020 11:43 am

    Beautiful Sean, thank you for sharing your story. Words can have so much control over our lives. Thank you for this reminder. Words my own father spoke taught me I was not “good enough” when I was about five years old. Words have so much power. I discovered books and a life long love of reading when I was in first grade. Books offered me a way to escape into a different reality. Time slipped by and a teacher’s derisive words challenged me when I was in high school. She felt I was still not good enough. Her words challenged me to prove I was good enough. I graduated as valedictorian of my graduating class. Today I am still an avid reader and I love the smell and feel of books. Good luck with your book and all of your writing. You/we are smart enough to change how others see themselves. Thank you.

  19. Jane Elder - October 9, 2020 11:44 am

    I spent 30 years teaching and sometimes loving kids like the kid you were. True…we didn’t really understand always the best way to reach the inner you. But my students still stop me on the street and say hi and sometimes even say thanks. Glad you made it.

  20. Marilyn Mason - October 9, 2020 12:02 pm

    YES! Congratulations. I can’t wait to read YOUR book!

  21. Andrea Serra - October 9, 2020 12:11 pm

    You are brilliant Sean Dietrich!

  22. E. Ann Padgett - October 9, 2020 12:13 pm

    Congratulations, Sean, on your new book. What is your new book’s name? I’m sure it will be a great success. Your essay today is particularly profound and touching for those of us with similar childhood stories, who have a lifelong love of books and wherever they can be found, and/or who are teachers and/or librarians. I suspect that means most of us commenting on this one today. Fitting all of those categories myself, I choked up and sobbed while reading your column. Congratulations, Sean, on being the amazingly talented and awesome person you turned out to be! We are all so proud of you!

  23. Harriet - October 9, 2020 12:30 pm

    Your wrote another book?! I can’t wait to read it!

  24. Shelton A. - October 9, 2020 12:33 pm

    I can only say, “Congratulations!”, un-stupid kid.

  25. Mary - October 9, 2020 12:33 pm

    You are a good man, weather you know it or not. Enjoy the day because you have made mine better so many times.

  26. Peggy Thompson - October 9, 2020 12:54 pm

    Great story by a smart man …thanks for telling a life story by so many…congratulations on your book!👏

  27. Peggy hartley - October 9, 2020 12:58 pm

    There is a special place in hell for teachers who label kids as stupid. God bless that librarian and all like here. Pa

  28. David Bailey - October 9, 2020 1:07 pm

    I also had a Library Lady, My Mother. The principal at my school told her that I should pursue more of a industrial arts direction instead of the academic course that I chose. My mother stood by my decision and helped me with school work every night. I was accepted by a major university , graduated and have been very successful in the business world from which I will retire from after 42 years in December. We are lucky when we can find that one person who believes in us.

  29. Melanie - October 9, 2020 1:07 pm

    Yay! Can’t wait to read it, Sean. So enjoyed reading “Stars of Alabama”.

  30. Marianna Parker - October 9, 2020 1:12 pm

    Like Kathryn Stockett says, “You kind, you smart, you important”. l look forward to reading each new book!

  31. John - October 9, 2020 1:21 pm

    You’re right on two points, Sean: first, you are definitely not stupid. Second, the smell of books, especially new ones, is the most intoxicating smell in the universe.
    Congrats on your new one!

  32. Cynthia Russell - October 9, 2020 1:22 pm

    STILL love my library & books!!
    & now they are giving zoom classes on crafts, computers, social media.. so many things.. love it!!

  33. Retired Ol' Geezer - October 9, 2020 1:24 pm

    One of your very best ever!

  34. Jean Dee - October 9, 2020 1:29 pm

    The library… was my favorite place growing up. I went every two weeks, got a bunch of books, and would start reading the minute I got home. We were a family of 9 kids, little money, and every room a bedroom except the kitchen. My books took me all over the world where I met people of all circumstances. I would sit for hours learning about my new worlds. I am in my 70’s now, and the library is still my favorite place! If you love reading, you can teach yourself anything…and travel the world without leaving your chair! I’m glad you know that feeling, Sean.

  35. Amy - October 9, 2020 1:31 pm

    Sean so thankful you didn’t listen to the teachers that didn’t “ get “ you. You are a very special person and I am inspired and touched by everything you write. Congratulations on the new book. I have already pre- ordered it and can’t wait to get it.

  36. Dianne - October 9, 2020 1:34 pm

    You made me cry this morning, Sean. If only teachers knew the impact they make on little lives, both for good and for bad, how many lives they could turn around for good. You made it in spite of a bad teacher. Can’t wait to read your new book!!

  37. Patricia Gibson - October 9, 2020 1:49 pm

    Some day I hope we realize that all children are smart Everyone learns in a different way❤️

  38. Rhonda Porter - October 9, 2020 1:54 pm

    Being a librarian was the most wonderful job ever! It’s amazing what a few kind words and a tat of perception can do! Librarians do change lives and I’m so delighted that one changed yours. Your words move me every day. Thank you for using your gift!!

  39. Bill in Tennessee - October 9, 2020 2:01 pm

    I had a similar experience in high school. I had always been a mediocre student as my mind was constantly elsewhere. Whatever book I was reading at the time, or whatever family crisis was going on, would occupy my mind to the exclusion of my classes. But one day in beginning Algebra class, my teacher told me I would never amount to much if I couldn’t understand her “teaching” method. Her “method” consisted of one single approach to Algebra, and (I figured out later) it did not make allowances for different learning needs. But her statement burned me for a long time.

    Later in life, I became a Technical Writer and Editor for one of the largest engineering and scientific companies in the world. And I was actually able to teach MYSELF how to do algebra, thanks to the internet. So now I think back on that stinging, unthinking teacher’s verdict on my intellect, and just laugh.

  40. carol0goodson - October 9, 2020 2:13 pm

    I am librarian, and you have made me fall in love with my profession all over again. Thank you!

  41. carol0goodson - October 9, 2020 2:14 pm

    I am librarian, and you have made me fall in love with my profession all over again… thank you!

  42. Lex Seifert - October 9, 2020 2:15 pm

    AMEN, Evelyn! Sean, you must get into schools.

  43. kathleenivy - October 9, 2020 2:18 pm

    Hi Sean, I am so glad to read your un-stupid story. I have learning disabilities and ADHD and struggled in school. I succeeded through the innovations of various teachers, similar to what you describe. I did stay in school (my parents would have killed me and buried me in the back yard otherwise) and a mentoring next-door neighbor helped me go to college. Such a blessing! I have now worked with students who have learning disabilities and ADHD, and every other kind of disability, in a university setting for 26 years. It has been wonderful to be able to do so. I am so happy that some people in the world of education knew how to support you, I wish more had known. More and more educators are learning effective ways to support student learning all the time, but we still have a long way to go. I still hear stories similar to yours from students when they first come to meet me. And I still have to be what I call “pleasantly persistent” with professors who do not “get” it. Bless you Sean, thank you for sharing your story. I dream of a time where all students will get the support they need to learn to their full potential. And I work toward that dream daily.

  44. Ag Porfilio - October 9, 2020 2:18 pm

    I know how you felt and I felt the same until I first saw my byline.

  45. Jan - October 9, 2020 2:31 pm

    Congratulations on your new book! Having read your books, I look forward to this new one. Funny, how we can ideas stuck in our head that are so hard to change. So thankful that you have persisted and now add immeasurably to the lives of your many readers/friends!

  46. Connie - October 9, 2020 2:53 pm

    I despise people who make children feel stupid. Everyone has a strength, wherever it’s math or science or words or building something with your hands. My elementary school library was my safe haven too. I was smart, but there was so much wrong with my childhood that books were my refuge. They still are. Looking forward to your new book. Love and hugs to you and Jamie

  47. Lisa Wilcox - October 9, 2020 2:55 pm

    You are an amazing and gifted writer, Sean! Thank you for sharing not only your gift but your heart and all those wonderful (crazy, funny,insightful..) thoughts inside your mind as well! Reading your posts every day is a highlight of my day!

  48. marilynbarnard - October 9, 2020 3:01 pm

    Your column today reminded me of the “kid’s” movie The Never Ending Story. If you aren’t familiar with it, please get acquainted! Quick synopsis: Young boy (being bullied) hides in a bookstore where owner (aka, your librarian) shows him a book. Boy reads rather than play video games, and the character in his book is on a quest to save Fantasia (imagination). It’s a movie for children, but with so many levels that adults and really appreciate it. The “wolf” character has been front and center this year in my memory – “IF I CAN GET YOU TO FEAR, I CAN CONTROL YOU”

    I always look forward to your column as it’s a bright spot to begin my day.

  49. Mary - October 9, 2020 3:42 pm

    Books can take you anywhere you want to go and I love holding g them.

  50. lasergirlnm - October 9, 2020 3:45 pm

    Congratulations, Sean. I am SO proud of you.

    My mother started taking me to the library when I was three years old and she let me pick out books that had pretty pictures on the cover, no matter the subject matter or the name of the book–SHE LET ME PICK. By the time I was five, I was able to work the record player to play those two-sided story records that I still remember and can almost tell word for word. I’ve been reading since I was five and even today, I will pick up and read almost anything, including the cereal boxes on the breakfast table.

    I’ve learned so much from reading – one book of historical fiction I was given in 1984 opened up an entire new world for me to history and at age 40 I became a “history buff”, thanks to a book!

    I so enjoy your columns – every day – no matter how mundane the subject matter. I cried along with you when you lost your dog; I’ve laughed with you, and I cried real tears today at your awe at yourself for having written a book. Just let us know when it is available, because I’ll definitely buy a copy. You make my mornings!!! And I save most of your columns to read and re-read–I even post some of them on Facebook because they mean so much to me that I have to share. You are a treasure!!

  51. Y - October 9, 2020 3:57 pm

    Congratulations on your book. Looking forward to reading it.

  52. Linda Moon - October 9, 2020 4:05 pm

    I’m smelling books right now. The one on the top of my bookshelf is about an unbroken circle. I, former teacher, would have “gotten” you. I understand, and I would’ve written “Good Job, Sean” in big, red teacher-letters on your colorings while answering questions. There’s some room on my shelf for your new novel, Author. And, from my guy and me: NEVER, ever leave that kid (you) behind. Keep him inside of you forever! GOOD JOB, SEAN!!

  53. Christina - October 9, 2020 4:20 pm

    You are not slow to create beauty, share kindness and your words are somehow always delivered with some laughter and tears. I cannot wait for my copy!

  54. nebraskannie - October 9, 2020 4:38 pm

    I am SO proud of you. I had a similar experience with Math that took me 50 years to get over, but I’ll retire in a good place financially, with pride. When I was in 7th Grade, I had to stay in bed for 6 months. Mom used to go to the library and get stacks of books, of all different genre’s, and when I was done with them, I’d just read the dictionary. It was through them I learned of other worlds and ways to be. After that, nothing could hold me back but myself. It takes courage to share yourself and your life with us every day and I admire that!

  55. Tom - October 9, 2020 4:41 pm

    Great story Sean. Words can hurt and have a lasting effect – for worse but also for much better. Thanks for sharing as always. I’m sure you helped some other “slow” folks.

  56. Bill Strawn - October 9, 2020 5:34 pm

    God bless you, my friend. I share your lvoe of books and I deeply appreciate someone who knows the wonders and escape of books. Sorry some not so smart teachers confused their bias wth your reality. If we meet, how about a hug. Wearing masks of course and bathing in antiseptic afterward.

  57. Alice W Hoover - October 9, 2020 5:56 pm

    Very proud for you. You are not stupid.

  58. Julie Cotten - October 9, 2020 7:05 pm

    so happy for you. you’re someone I like.

  59. MAM - October 9, 2020 7:13 pm

    Thank goodness for teachers who “get” us. You, Sean, are wise, gifted, a very talented writer and a supremely caring person. So wonderful to read your message every day! And this comes from a person who now writes for a living and was once told by an English professor that “you have nothing to say.”

  60. Bob May - October 9, 2020 7:30 pm

    Sean, I read recently that about 85% of folks think they should write and publish a book. Only 1% of us actually do. In your case your book(s) are highly readable. Nothin’ wrong with you, boy. Never was.

  61. Beth - October 9, 2020 7:31 pm

    This is so encouraging. I’m writing a memoir right now, and it is hard because I wonder, “who really cares what I have to say?” and “who is going to spend good money on whatever drivel I put out?” That part is much harder than the actual writing — that’s the easy part! Congrats on yet another book (that I will spend good money on to read).

  62. Gloria - October 9, 2020 10:10 pm

    You are such an inspiration! And, to echo others, you need to take your message to schools! There are many children (and teachers) who could be touched and inspired by your story.

  63. Susan Parker - October 9, 2020 10:21 pm

    Congratulations, Sean! You are one of the most un-stupid people around! And I’m glad you’ve proven that to yourself. I am certain that God is using what you are accomplishing to inspire many people! Especially kids.

  64. Paramore - October 9, 2020 10:24 pm

    This is one of my favorite columns to date!

  65. Tracy - October 9, 2020 10:26 pm

    You are truly gifted😍

  66. Eva - October 9, 2020 10:40 pm

    You’ve made your parents proud. You never were slow. You were super smart in your own way. I live with one of those people.

  67. Pat Green - October 9, 2020 10:46 pm

    I wish more teachers understood that everybody learns differently. The teacher who “got you” was a jewel. We need more like her! I love your story and I’m glad it has a happy ending!

  68. carol0goodson - October 9, 2020 10:55 pm

    I have the same problem Sean described, and I think it must be some kind of learning disability… I can listen and concentrate much better if I have some mindless task to do while I am listening… I don’t know why, but it helps me focus. During online meetings, I often play a game on my phone while I am listening–which seems comparable to the teacher telling Sean to color during class.

  69. Susan Kennedy - October 9, 2020 11:11 pm

    You are SO UN-Stupid!! 😉 You are amazing and I am so proud that you have a new book!! Congratulations!! 🎉💙

  70. Suzanne Jackson - October 10, 2020 12:11 am


  71. Linda Jo - October 10, 2020 1:49 am

    When I was in elementary school I had lots of red checks on the report card for ‘daydreaming’. Then later I was told I didn’t care and was lazy. Forty years later I do care and not so lazy and thankfully I still daydream!

  72. Jim Parker - October 10, 2020 3:27 am

    Thanks Sean. I too am library educated. I’ve lived my life striving to be unslow, unstupid, acceptable. Now, I wake daily predawn, walk out back and either paddle across Eastern Lake to swim in the gulf or just swim the lake until the sun is up & Ive said my morning prayers, always grateful for Life, love, kind librarians, free books, friends, persistence and grace. Peace to you, fellow traveler. Jim

  73. Don Gardner, Jr - October 10, 2020 2:37 pm

    Sean, Yesterday, I started reading you novel Lyla. Love it . It is the first of you novels I have read, but definitely not the last.

  74. Becky Estes - October 10, 2020 3:34 pm

    So moving. So glad your librarian released the “real” you. Your stories make the world a better place. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

  75. Tommy - October 10, 2020 4:54 pm

    Not reading related, but i still remember stopping an older adult to tell him i was leaving for basic training. And i was kinda scared. He said, “You’ll make it. You have what it takes”. Now 30 years retired from the Reserve, i still remember his simple statement as if yesterday.

  76. Barbara - October 10, 2020 7:43 pm

    I love libraries. I wish I had been a librarian. I majored in English, which was wonderful, but there wasn’t a school of Library Science in Houston.

  77. Nellie Tipton - October 10, 2020 7:53 pm

    So beautiful. if every teacher could know what is really in the heart of every student, what a difference it would make. I don’t think I miss any of your posts. I love books and libraries too. Never thought I’d buy a Kindle reader because I love the pages of a book. But, for the sake of space, I did buy one. Keep writing.

  78. Antonia Gammage - October 12, 2020 7:12 pm

    I do love Stars of Alabama that I recommended it to my book club. Beautiful story.

    Certain to be a movie someday.

  79. Antonia Gammage - October 12, 2020 7:16 pm

    BTW, libraries saved me. Books that were free!!!!!!
    What a genius concept…Ben Franklin I think?

    Libraries and they’re books saved me. Not from school, which was a refuge also, but from the bickering at home, and a bullying brother. other.

    Books showed me other worlds’.

    Thanks, Sean, for all your columns which are heartfelt and well written and so touchingly universal.

  80. joseybell - October 12, 2020 9:52 pm

    I understand some of what you are saying. My husband dropped out of school after a hard struggle to reach the 9th. grade. He has undiagnosed dyslexia, It wasn’t until we were married I was able to show him he wasn’t stupid…just wired differently. He still struggles with reading but watches every history show and documentary he can get a hold of. He’s great with finance which is one of God’s greatest blessings because I’m the proverbial over spender. Thanks to his money smarts we won’t spend our last days on the street. Everyone is smart in a different way. Thank God you found your way because you bring so much pleasure to millions with your words.

  81. Johnny Coggin - October 13, 2020 10:30 pm

    One can never underestimate the power of an encouraging word! God bless teachers, librarians, parents, and others who”get it!” May their tribe increase.

  82. Anne Trawick - October 18, 2020 2:26 pm

    Oh, Sean, I am a retired teacher. I am going to forward this post to every teacher and librarian that I know. I’ve heard you speak at out little Woman’s Club meeting in Donalsonville a few years back. I know what a compelling speaker you are. I wish you could whisper your story in the ear of every child who struggles in school. Keep up the inspiring work! Hello, Jamie!

  83. Brenda Murray - October 25, 2020 11:48 am


  84. Cindy Neill - November 8, 2020 5:29 pm

    I have always thought that the smell of books must be as close to heaven as you can get

  85. ell - November 8, 2020 7:48 pm

    The. most appealing thing about a real man is the little boy he tries hard to cover up! Love ya, you big ole kid!

  86. Jackie - November 8, 2020 11:50 pm

    I’m both a librarian and a teacher of struggling learners in a small private school over here in Southwest Alabama. My chief aim is for that little library (and it is indeed tiny) to be a haven for the different, the struggling, the…whatever. I hope that at least a few times in my career my words have made someone feel loved or special or un-stupid or however they needed to feel right then. Words, both written and spoken, matter.

  87. JoAnna - November 9, 2020 11:09 pm

    Congratulations Mr. Dietrich! I cannot wait to read it.

  88. Sharon Hanning - December 9, 2020 2:15 pm

    Thank you Sean, for your honesty and sincerity. I know it was rough on you as a kid, but it shaped you into the amazing man you are today and I’m grateful to have “met” you through your writings. God bless.

  89. Jeanine Enterkin - December 9, 2020 2:31 pm

    And THIS…is why real books, with real pages will always be better than what I read this blog post on. The letters on the cover, the crisp pages, the smell, books are amazing. And amazing people write them. Thanks Sean.

  90. Michael Watkins - December 10, 2020 1:30 am

    For many years I was told that I was slow. Yes that did leave me hurting.My dad would beat me talk down to me.At the age of 18 years old he forced me to go to work with him in the foundry.I would get so sick because of the heat in the shop.After a couple of years went by I got used to the heat, then I told myself I can do this and I did.I work very hard made lead man the foreman . Work for all most 29 years,I told my dad that I was quitting and he told me I was crazy.He said what are you going to do.I said that I am going to start my company and I did just that.I started a lawn service called Finestcut lawn service.I work at that Company for 22 years and it was a success.Now one of my sons it taking it over.Now I can say I am not slow or stupid ,Thanks dad for your hard words because it made me a better man.

  91. CHARALEEN WRIGHT - August 1, 2021 11:08 pm


Leave a Comment