My KDL Story: Bailey Katsumata-Smith

"I don't care what other people think about me reading. I love it so much..."

Bailey Katsumata-Smith

Bailey Katsumata-Smith used to think reading was, in her words, an overrated waste of time. "That all changed when I was 6 years old," she said.

How cute is that?

Though her father, Stafford Smith, did say his daughter enjoyed being read to as a toddler, "I was a T.V. kid," Bailey admitted. Then she discovered the Magic Tree House Collection, a series of children's books that chronicles the adventures of Jack and Annie from Ancient Egypt to Outer Space to Camelot via a tree house filled with books.

"I read all of them in about one week," she recalled, "(I was) so happy that there were such amazing books."

When she was in fifth grade, Bailey's family moved from Pennsylvania to East Grand Rapids, and she visited her new neighborhood's library branch before she even went to see her new house.

"I saw the clock that gives the library recognition and told my mom I needed to go in there, like, ASAP," said the now eighth-grader. "I was fascinated. I ran to the children's section, so shocked at the amount of books they had."

These days Bailey visits the East Grand Rapids branch at least twice a week, and reading continues to be a major part of her life. She shares her literary interests on Goodreads and has reviewed books for KDL's blog and for her school.

"I like giving opinions on books," she said. "Everybody always asks me because they know I've read so many."

Bailey said she sometimes hears from others her age that "reading is so weird."

"Some of my friends love to read, but others, if they picked up a book they would immediately put it back down in horror," she said. "I don't care what other people think about me reading. I love it so much."


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