the cover for the picture book this story was originally written for
Once upon a time there was a little girl named Sage who loved to play outside during the winder at her family’s cabin in Tahoe. She enjoyed skiing and ice skating and even playing fetch with her dog Buddy out in the snow.
One day, Sage threw a ball particularly far, and Buddy ran into the woods by the house too try to find it. Sage waited and waited, but he didn’t come back after a long while and she began to worry. So, Sage set off into the forest to find him.
After what seemed like hours of searching, she saw some paw prints in the snow that led off the trail and Sage followed them for a ways until she found a tall stone building. “Interesting,” Sage thought to herself. “I’ve never seen a building like this in the middle of the woods with no one around for miles.”
Being the curious girl that she was, Sage pushed open the heavy door and stepped inside. Instantly, Sage was greeted by the warmth of a fire roaring in the corner and the smell of cookies baking. The room around her was bright and comfortable looking. There was a big soft chair in front of the fireplace, and the walls of the room were covered–from floor to ceiling–in books. Sage looked through the doorway that led to different parts of the house and saw that they were also filled with books. When she saw a small desk next to the door she had just come in, she realized this wasn’t a house at all. It was a library.
“Woof!” Sage heard a bark coming from down the hallway and saw Buddy running towards her.
“There you are!” she said, grabbing his collar and hugging him.
“Is this your dog?” said a voice. Sage looked up and saw a tall girl with golden hair emerge from where Buddy had just come from. “I’m glad you finally found him.”
“What is this place, exactly?” asked Sage.
“Why,” answered the girl. “This is the Library of Dreams.”
“The Library of Dreams?” asked Sage. “What does that mean? It looks to me like there’s only books here.”
“Well yes,” said the girl. “But these books are special. They hold and record the things that people imagine, dream about, and want to do or become someday. Watch, what’s your name?”
“Sage Barry,” said Sage.
“Okay,” the librarian said, moving to one section of the room. “Let’s see.” She pulled a relatively small book off the shelf. “Sage Barry,” she said, opening it. “Age: 6, dream job: artist.” The librarian looked up suddenly. “You want to be an artist?” she asked.
“Then you must be really good at painting!”
“Well,” said Sage. “I do my best.”
“Thank goodness you’re here,” the librarian responded. “There’s something I need you to see. We are in desperate need of your help.”
The librarian took Sage to a different section of the library. The books here were not colorful or filled with pages of untold stories. They were gray and damp and it seemed like most of the pages had fallen out and the spines were falling apart. “This section of the library,” the librarian said, “is for the dreams of grown-ups. A lot of them have boring jobs now, and hardly any of them use their imaginations.” She pulled one book from the shelves. It was practically falling apart at the seams. “See? There aren’t even any pictures in them,” she said.
“Can’t you draw pictures?” asked Sage.
“Well yes,” replied the librarian. “That’s my job here: keeping people’s dreams alive, but there is just so much hopelessness I can hardly keep up. That’s why I need your help.”
“What can I do?” asked Sage.
“You can help me make these grown-ups’ books beautiful again.”
Sage wasn’t sure if she would be able to fix them all, but she was glad she brought her set of markers and crayons with her. “I’ll try,” she said, and she and the librarian went to work.
She grabbed a stack of books from the shelf and began coloring in anything she could think of. In one, she drew a picture of her beautiful black and white cat, Abbot.
In another, she drew an illustration of a beautiful front yard, just like the one at her house back in Walnut Creek, complete with flowers, plants, and lots of trees to climb.
She colored pictures of bumble bees, and her dog and her friends and a baseball team and her cousin’s home in Hawaii. She even used her crayons to draw pictures of delicious adventures and exciting foods, until one by one her markers started to run out of ink, and her crayons had all but worn down completely.
At first Sage was disappointed that she couldn’t keep coloring, but she took a step back and looked at the pile she had restored. The once old and tattered books now looked more beautiful than ever, and some even began adding pictures automatically, as a newly inspired mind somewhere began to dream up more dreams once more.
“Thank you so much for your help!” the librarian said.
“Of course,” responded Sage, “but I should probably be getting home soon. It’s getting late and my mom is making macaroni and cheese for dinner!”
“Then you best be going on your way,” said the librarian. “But first, I want you to take this.” She handed Sage a book–the very book she had read earlier that illustrated her dreams. “I’ll start a new one here for you,” she said. “And you can keep this to remember all the things you liked and thought about at this age.”
“Thank you!” Sage responded eagerly. Then, clapping her hands so Buddy would follow her, she headed home.