Cambrian: Opinion

I love to read to kids, I do; if you do, you sure can, too!

The columnist reads to Cambria Grammar School students.
The columnist reads to Cambria Grammar School students.

I was excited to know that the Cambria Bead Company was going to stay open after Bodhi Hodges took it over. An avid crafter, I love having the creative source less than a mile from my house! I also appreciated Bodhi’s friendship and knowledge.

Fast-forward a few years, and while she still owns the bead store, she has added another job to her list of endeavors besides small-business owner (and mom to her grown son, Logan): Grammar School librarian. A kind, well-educated, soft-spoken woman with a perpetual pixie smile, what a great fit! She figured out a way to balance both jobs.

One day Bodhi asked if I’d ever be interested in reading to the kids at the school. Reluctant performer that I am, I jumped at the chance to hang out with little people and share books! The call came this past week, a week honoring great children’s author Dr. Suess, and I could address Ms. Younger’s second-grade class.

I was actually nervous as I pulled up to the school in my yellow-and-purple-striped socks and pants (and whatever else outrageous on I could find). Being a staunch environmentalist, I naturally chose to read, “The Lorax,” Theodor Geisel’s reprimand of what big money was starting to do to the physical world around us and to encourage people to not let it happen.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not” warned the characters.

It was delightful. Kids don’t judge you when you stumble over words or even miss a page. They just hummed along when I asked them to, answered questions politely, and Bodhi was helpful and encouraging and dear as ever. She gets to have this interaction every day! She said others are welcome to join in the fun, just by contacting her through the Grammar School. I asked her what else she needed along with a few other questions. For starters, she described how perfect it was that the library was in the center of the campus, the heart of the school, as it were.

“I see the library as a place where students, parents, staff, volunteers and community members intersect, interact and discover together. Readers are born in the laps of their parents. I see the CGS library as a place that nurtures young families and helps each student discover what my dad told me over, and over again: ‘Once you learn to read, you can do anything.’

It will remain a student-friendly space that inspires out-of-the-box thinking, honors individual interests and embraces the latest and greatest technology available to us,” she wrote.

Her son, Logan, received much of his education here in Coast Unified School District. Her own formal education came through college in Michigan where she initially pursued a nursing degree but switched to a biology major with a minor in education. Then she became a mother.

“Game changer. That’s when I knew I’d enjoy working with children.”

“Love brought me to Cambria, and I’ve lived here for 12 years. It was one of the best decisions of my life. I love this community. For some of us this place is a magnet. It draws us in and we let it. Locally I have taught early education in a Montessori school and worked as a guide at Hearst Castle. For the last five years most locals have come to know me as a small-business owner.

“If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would own a sweet little bead store in the west end of a beach town and be the librarian at Cambria Grammar School, I would not have believed you. I might have even laughed out loud. I would tell you that the idea of it all sounds perfect. I now pinch myself every day … sometimes twice.”

So if you see marks on her arm … just know she is counting her blessings.

Bodhi also told me that, besides readers, the library is always in need of new and gently used hardcover age-appropriate picture books. They are also grateful for nonfiction books that have a copyright date of 2000 or later.

“Sturdy, child-sized book shelves would be put to good use.”

They also make bookmarks and do other craft activities so sometimes need yarn or colorful paper.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go,” Suess wrote.

Bodhi Rainbow Hodges is trying to make sure that happens in an inviting way at the Cambria Grammar School.

Dianne Brooke’s column appears weekly and is special to The Cambrian. Visit her website at Email her at