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Former book critic shares stories

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Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 3:51 pm

Nestled into an armchair, fourth-grade teacher and former book critic Matt Berman looks as though he is at home in the coziest of libraries. In fact, he is.

“I don’t know what it is that makes books e’er so satisfying,” Berman said. “I not only like to own them but like to be surrounded by them.”

His Half Moon Bay home is lined with beech-colored Ikea shelves that stretch to the ceiling. Hundreds of spines and thousands of pages glow under the warmth of colorful Christmas lights.

His genre of choice? Children’s literature.

Perhaps most interesting to Review readers are the unassuming cardboard boxes stacked in his garage. Each box contains dozens of children’s and young adult stories of adventure, the triumph of good over evil, mystery, fantasy and more.

There was a time when he had read every single book on the bestseller lists and could predict which authors would win the Newbery Medal for distinguished contributions to children’s literature.

He’s since taken a step back from reviewing, but the books kept piling up. Now Berman wants to share them.

“Books should be all over the house. They should just be part of your whole life. The whole family should be reading books and talking about them … Everything else we give (kids) is fun and entertaining. Books are fun and entertaining and good, in and of themselves,” he said.

Now Berman wants to share the joy he finds in books. He’s given dozens of them to the Review for distribution to readers. If you want free, brand new books, suitable for young children through young adult readers, simply bring this page into the newspaper offices, at 714 Kelly Ave., in Half Moon Bay, during regular business hours. Anyone who does so may pick three titles from Berman’s collection.

Just for fun, answer the accompanying quiz and take home an additional two books.

Welcome to the discussion.

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