Judge Olly Neal grew up in Arkansas during the ’50s and didn’t care much for high school. One day he wandered into the library, where he came across a book by African-American author Frank Yerby. The cover piqued his interest, but Olly didn’t want to risk his reputation by letting his classmates see him voluntarily reading. So rather than check out the book, he stole it.

He recounts how this book — and a little nudge from two helpful librarians — turned him around academically.

This all-new animated short is presented as part of the new StoryCorps animation season, “Moments that Define,” where StoryCorps participants share the turning points that have shaped them.

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