This past weekend, Justin DeChantal, the 24-year-old son of Book Journey‘s Sheila, was killed in a car accident. I can hardly remember book blogging without Sheila. She has always been there for a laugh, an idea, a good audiobook lead, and most of all friendship. Meeting her in person at BEA in 2012 was a highlight. Most recently, her Harry Potter Re-Read Challenge prompted me to read the series for the first time. I’ve since joined the legions of loyal Harry Potter fans. What a gift her gentle prompting was to my life.
I am hardly alone in my love and admiration for Sheila. She is a bright star for so many book bloggers. When we heard the news of Justin’s accident, we wanted to do something to show our support. Knowing that she is an active Friend of the Brainerd Public Library, we contacted them with our idea to create a permanent memorial of some kind for Justin. The librarian there is simply amazing and let us know that the library has wanted to have benches placed outside and that Sheila has been helping with that initiative. When we heard about this project, it just felt like the perfect way for those of us who have come to know Sheila through books to support her.
If you have been touched by Sheila and would like to show your support as well, please consider donating to the gofundme that Jenn from The Picky Girl set up for us: Bench in Memory of Justin DeChantal. The donations above and beyond the cost of Justin’s bench will be donated to the Brainerd Public Library in his name.