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December 15, 2023

Everyone has their own story: Sam Recinos | My Bookmark

Sam Recinos (they/them) is a community engagement manager for Reading Partners San Francisco Bay Area

Sam’s literacy journey started before they learned to read. They didn’t yet know how to decode words and identify letters, but that didn’t stop Sam from picking up books and pretending to read!

“There are pictures of me sitting as a kid, with a Dr. Seuss book upside down, staring intently at the page like I understood something about it,” Sam remembers.

the giver; storyOnce they gained those essential literacy skills, Sam turned to books like The Giver by Lois Lowry. 

“It was the first book I read that tapped into the idea of confronting and questioning the social structures of society,” Sam says, finding themself drawn to dystopian novels to this day. “I also remember vividly reading about the main character experiencing new feelings for the first time: pain and joy. It’s a feeling that has stuck with me ever since, that of which all experiences and emotions are meaningful and beautiful, even the ones that are difficult.”

Since that upside-down Dr. Seuss book and The Giver, Sam’s literacy journey has had its ups and downs throughout the years. They remember reading voraciously as a kid and in high school, and, like many of us, having a brief reading slump in young adulthood. But now, Sam is back on the reading train!

“It wasn’t until a few years ago that I made an intentional effort to bring books back into my life and I found myself really loving reading again!” they say. “Now, I read most nights in bed before sleep, learning about the world through other people’s lives in their (semi) fictional worlds.”

When they think about what books they wish they’d had as a kid, a few genres come to mind: “I love reading children’s books about cultural heritage and having the opportunity to learn about so many different cultural traditions and histories. I also love seeing children’s books that explore processing strong emotions and being able to name our feelings!”

For Sam, reading is essential, especially for kids. 

“I firmly believe that books have a huge impact on opening up new worlds and ideas to children. Each story allows the reader to understand the experience of another person or character: to empathize with them, to disagree with them, and to see them grow. It is really important to discover that each person they meet has their own story, just like in books.”

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