Katie pretended she didn’t hear Brian and Matt yelling. She hugged her books to her chest and walked faster, but the taunts still rang down the hall. “Bookworm! Bookworm!”
She felt her face getting hot, and she wanted to turn around and scream at them. Instead she half ran, half walked the rest of the way to the school library door, pulled it open, and slipped inside. She could still hear Brian and Matt laughing.
“Hi, Katie,” said Mrs. Reid. Katie thought it was funny for the librarian to be named Mrs. Reid.
“Hi,” said Katie softly, looking at the floor.
“What’s the matter, Katie?”
“Oh, just Brian and Matt. They were being mean again and calling me dumb names like ‘bookworm.’”
Mrs. Reid began to laugh. Katie looked up at her in surprise, and a sick feeling started in her stomach. “It isn’t funny!”
“Sure it is,” said Mrs. Reid, trying to stop her laughter. “I thought a bookworm was a squiggly bug that eats novels. And I have never ever seen you with your mouth full of pages!”
Katie looked down at the books in her arms and started to smile a little as she thought, What would those boys think if they saw me chewing up books and spitting out the covers? Aloud she said, “Mrs. Reid, you are the silliest grown-up I’ve ever met!”
“Sure,” said Mrs. Reid. “That’s one reason you like me. Now, can I show you my favorite book for this week? Or are you still reading the Black Stallion?”
“No, I finished it. It was as good as you said it would be!”
While Mrs. Reid went to get the book she had saved, Katie sat by one of the desks and looked at the new bulletin board. It said, BE KIND TO YOUR BOOKS.
Just last week Katie’s dad had said almost the same thing. Katie’s brother, Sam, had dropped his scriptures on the lawn after church. Dad had put his hands on his hips and said, “Samuel Jacob Rotheree, please take better care of my favorite books!”
Katie knew why they were Dad’s favorite books, even though they didn’t have shiny pictures on the covers like Mrs. Reid’s did. It was because they told about Jesus.
Mrs. Reid came back waving a new novel. “Wait until you read this, Katie!”
While Mrs. Reid was checking out the new book, Katie leaned against the desk. “Mrs. Reid,” she asked, “do you know about Jesus?”
Mrs. Reid looked surprised. “Well, sure. But I don’t think about Him much. Why?”
“Oh,” said Katie. “I just wondered.” She took the book and left the library. How could anyone not think about Jesus much?
That night when Katie was ready for bed, Dad came in to hear her say her prayers and tuck her in.
“Dad, Mrs. Reid says she doesn’t think about Jesus very much.”
Dad sat down on the edge of her bed. “Who is Mrs. Reid?”
“The school librarian. She’s really nice. She always saves her favorite books for me, and they’re good ones too. But she said she doesn’t think about Jesus. I thought everyone thought about Him.”
“Do you think about Jesus?”
“Yes.” Katie looked at the picture of Jesus she had hung on the wall. “I love Him because He is so kind.”
Dad squeezed her hand and smiled. “Why else do you love Jesus?”
Katie squinted her eyes and thought. “Well,” she said slowly, “because I like to read stories about Him—like when He went to see the Nephites and blessed all the little children.”
“I wonder if Mrs. Reid knows that story.”
Suddenly Katie felt excited. She sat straight up in bed. “Yeah, Dad! What if she doesn’t know that story? Can I take her a Book of Mormon?”
Dad was really smiling now. “Sure—that’s a good idea. I’ll tell you what, Katie. I have a brand new copy of the Book of Mormon that you can give her. I’ll get it for you.” In a few minutes he came back with a blue Book of Mormon that had a picture of the Angel Moroni on the cover. He suggested that Katie write her testimony in the front of it.
For a long time Katie chewed on the end of her pencil and tried to think of what to write. Finally she carefully wrote:
Dear Mrs. Reid,
This is my favorite book because it tells about Jesus. Jesus is Heavenly Father’s Son, and I love Him. I hope you love Him too. I love you, Mrs. Reid.
Your friend, Katie Rotheree.
When she finished writing, she felt warm, happy, and sleepy. Dad hugged her tight and said, “I’ll wrap it for you.”
The next morning Katie walked slowly to the library. She wondered if Mrs. Reid would like her present. Katie was so nervous that she almost didn’t want to give it to her anymore.
Brian and Matt came around the corner and saw her. “Hey! It’s the bookworm!” Matt sang out.
Katie ran to the library. Taking a deep breath, she walked right up to Mrs. Reid and held out the Book of Mormon.
“Good morning, Katie,” said Mrs. Reid. “What’s this?”
“My favorite book,” said Katie. “I want to give it to you so you can read it too.”
The librarian unwrapped the package, opened the book, and read what Katie had written. Then she closed the book and looked into Katie’s eyes. “Thank you,” she said softly. “I’ll read it. And, Katie, I love you too.”
The warm feeling Katie had had the night before came back, only stronger. She felt as if she could hug the whole world.
The warning bell was ringing as Katie waved good-bye to Mrs. Reid and went back out into the hall.
“Hi, bookworm,” said Brian as he and Matt walked past her.
Katie felt so good that she just giggled. Brian and Matt looked surprised. “I am a bookworm!” she said. “Do you want to see me eat books?”
Brian and Matt looked at her, then at each other. Suddenly all three of them were laughing and hurrying together down the hall to class.