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Junot Díaz

(b. 1968– )

Dominican-born U.S. author and professor

“I remember her as a small woman, but what do I know? I was small myself. She’s in none of the official photographs I have from my elementary-school days, but in my memory, my first librarian is a gentlewhitewoman who wore glasses and was exceedingly kind to this new immigrant. I do not remember her voice, but I do remember that every time I saw her, she called me to her desk and showed me with an almost conspiratorial glee a book she had picked out for me, a book I always read and often loved.
        Every now and then you get lucky in your education and you make a teacher-friend; Mrs. Crowell was my first. By second grade she was allowing me to take out more books than the prescribed limit. By third grade I was granted admission to her librarian’s office. My love of books was born of hers. As a newcomer with almost no knowledge of the country in which I’d found myself, I was desperate to understand where the hell I was, who I was. I sought those answers in books. It was in Mrs. Crowell’s library that I found my first harbor, my first truly safe place in the United States. I still feel a happy pulse every time I see a library. I’m with Borges in imagining Paradise as ‘a kind of library.’ Where instead of angels there will be a corps of excellent librarians.”

— Junot Díaz, “In Mrs. Crowell’s Library,” part of “The Educational Experiences That Change a Life,” New York Times, September 14, 2011.

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“These days I write a lot. From can’t see in the morning to can’t see at night.”

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source: The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (New York: Riverhead, 2007), 326.

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medium: Fiction

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