Little Girl Sees Familiar Name Inside Textbook, Realizes She Has Country Superstar's Hand-Me-Down


Seven-year-old Marley Parker recently completed a rite of passage all-too-familiar to those of us who grew up in the American school system.

Like Marley, we once joined our classmates in receiving a school-issued reading textbook, identical for each student in our grade.

Teachers would instruct students to write their name on the inside of the textbook cover.

Upon opening the book for the first time, the moment of truth flashed before our eyes: the names of every student who had used the book before our time.

Marley, who lives in Ada, Oklahoma, was in for an exciting surprise when she opened her reading book. The name on the second line from the top, written in blue ink, was none other than country superstar Blake Shelton.

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Marley’s mother, Shelly Bryan Parker, snapped a photo of her wide-grinning daughter and posted it online. But Parker felt disappointed that her daughter’s school was still using textbooks from the ’80’s.

“Marley is EXCITED that her “new” reader belonged to Blake Shelton, but I am EMBARRASSED!!!!” Parker wrote. “I’m 40 and these people are my age!!!”

The textbook, “Look Away: Keys to Reading” was once in Shelton’s possession in 1982. The singer is now 41.

“I said, ‘No, that can’t be,’” Parker, a former teacher, told PEOPLE. “I can’t believe these books are so old.”

“When I was in school, I wasn’t using books that were 40 years old,” Parker explained.

While Shelton has yet to comment on whether or not he’s heard about Marley’s joy, Parker has a feeling Shelton knows. Shelton, who grew up in smalltown Ada, still has plenty of relatives living in the area, Parker explained.

Meanwhile, Marley is clutching her new/old reading book with pride, perhaps because she has realized, at her young age, that greatness can come from anywhere.

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“Everyone’s been teasing her about being famous,” Parker expressed. “It’s been kind of funny to see how she acts now that this thing has gone viral.”

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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