A school librarian cornered the boy in a hallway like a cougar.
She asked him to read a nonsensical book and her suggestion became a catalyst in an 8-year-old's life.
When Michael Buckley grew up he penned New York Times best sellers that have transported children across the globe into a world of fairy tales and make-believe.
Michael Buckley signs a book for one of the attendees of the James V. Brown Library’s Author Gala on Thursday night. Buckley is the author of the popular “Sisters Grimm” series.
"She changed me overnight," Buckley, the featured author at the eighth James V. Brown Library Author Gala at the Williamsport Country Club, said to a captivated, well-fed and relaxed audience on Thursday night.
Today, Buckley, who lives in New York City, is author of the popular children's books series "Sisters Grimm" and "N.E.R.D.S."
As he described his diverse life's journey, he finished with a serious message about the importance of the school librarian's impact on his impressionable young mind and how libraries are the "secret to America."
"It was like a lightning bolt," he said, of the inspirational spark provided to him by the librarian at the school in Akron, Ohio.
He called her the single most important impetus behind his searching out other books, using his inherent comedic skills and eventually becoming a children's book author.
"She changed me overnight," he said, describing himself as a reluctant reader as a child who was force fed books such as "The Yearling" and "Little House on the Prairie," which were noteworthy works, but didn't help to invigorate his page-turning.
The librarian gave him a copy of "The Mouse and the Motorcycle: by Beverly Cleary, and it was anything but grueling.
The book was funny, full of adventure and most importantly - it was pointless.
"I thought, 'maybe there's another book like this,' " he said.
He said he literally became a reader overnight.
After reading it, I went back to the library, hoping there were more books like it."
Buckley said as a 16-year-old he began writing "cerebral" jokes. He became a stand-up comedian and toured with eventual superstars such as Jon Stewart, Dave Chappelle and Dane Cook.
Three years later, he started a punk rock band. When he studied journalism at Ohio University, he met whom he considered to be his second mentor in his life, Mel Helitzer.
Helitzer worked on "Our Show of Shows" with comic legend, Sid Caesar.
"He taught me how to write with a pace with a musical style," Buckley said.
He later interned on The Late Show with David Letterman, walking Letterman's clinically insane golden retriever that, he claimed, bit himself.
But while many on the show and audience were thrilled to meet guest such as Nicole Kidman, Buckley, instead, was more upbeat about guests such as Al Franken, Bill Murray, Woody Allen, Steve Martin and Bob Newhart.
Still later in life, Buckley worked on the Discovery Channel and on a documentary about the "mole people" living in the subway system beneath New York City.
He said about 3,500 of the mole people have formed a community, elected a mayor, have their own form of police departments and use microwave ovens.
He has traveled with circus performers and found much influence in their emotions.
Buckley went to work for MTV, VH-1 and Nickelodeon.
"Writing for kids intrigued me but I didn't think I was capable of it," he said.
He referred to a contest he entered as a school kid in Akron at the Akron Beacon Journal. The editors there were able to tell if any talent as a writer existed and one told him he should not think about a career as a writer.
Three decades later, when he wound up on the New York Times best-seller list he mailed the clipping back to the editor, who still was at the newspaper.
He didn't get a reply.
"It all started with a school librarian," he reiterated. Libraries are the "heart of our society," he said.
"Unfortunately, I feel we don't give them respect," he said.
When budget cuts are under way, they are the first to be trimmed.
Today, however, libraries are transforming young lives.
He cited examples of libraries, such as one in Princeton, N.J., that has a coffee shop inside.
"If it weren't for a librarian, I would have read that letter from the Akron Beacon Journal and probably would have believed it."