MOORE — Leaders in local government and library organizations gathered at Wayland Bonds Elementary in Moore to celebrate a young man for his years-long commitment to a reading goal.
Brixton Lemons, 12, was first challenged by his third-grade teacher to read every Children’s Sequoyah book from that year’s list, and the habit has stuck. Now in sixth grade, Lemons continues to read every book on the children’s list — also venturing into the Intermediate list from time to time — and has recently finished his 70th Sequoyah title.
After hearing of his accomplishment, local officials and Pioneer Library System staff coordinated to honor Brixton for his dedication to reading, leading to a January gathering in his school library.
Gathered were Rep. Chris Kannady and state Sen. Darrell Weaver, who presented an official citation of congratulations, Oklahoma Library Association President Cherity Pennington, Pioneer Library System Executive Director Lisa Wells, Wayland Bonds media specialist Kristen Lassiter, Sequoyah chairperson Kirsten Walker and Lemons’ family.
Asked if there was ever a point when he considered quitting the challenge, he shared his praise of the Sequoyah program.
“Not really. I always loved to read, and my biggest problem is I can never find books, but during this challenge, I have the books picked out for me. The Sequoyah list has never failed,” he said.
Inaugurated in 1959, the Sequoyah Children’s Book Award is the third oldest children’s book award in the United States and has since added categories for intermediate grades and high school students.
It is a student’s choice award; students vote for favorite books from a list curated by a dedicated reading team, including Walker, a Pioneer Library System librarian.
“Hearing about Brixton’s story was so inspiring and humbling. I love working with the Sequoyah teams, and knowing that we had helped a student be engaged and excited about reading while also inspiring others to do so was incredible,” Walker said. “As a member of the Sequoyah administration team, it was so wonderful to see him light up as he talked about his favorite book from the list. It’s rare that we get to see those moments, and being there for this moment was so great.”