In my life so far, I have never been in the popular crowd. The popular crowd was made up of the kids everyone else wanted to be -- they were funny, had good clothes and money to spend. Instead, I was always the smart girl in class, the one that everyone ignored until they needed help with homework or something like that. I was basically invisible and alone. But reading books gave me an escape from my aloneness.
I grew up at the Polo Grounds Community Center in Harlem, New York. My elementary school was in the middle of the housing projects, and everybody who lived there went to school there. Everyone knew each other, but I didn't know anyone. While the other kids were outside playing, running through sprinklers and going to the park, I was inside on my bed, curled up with a book. I had a few friends, but they were out with the others while all I wanted to do was read.