|The is the exact cover of the
book I read so many years ago.
noun: the state of being a child
I have a confession: I’ve seen the movie You’ve Got Mail somewhere around 30 times. I can practically quote every line, and I still want to watch it…again. There are so many wonderful quotes from the movie that encapsulate real life: a life that makes a difference, a life that wants true love, AND a life that understands the power of books. Kathleen Kelly, the heroine in the movie, owns a children’s bookstore in New York City. She comments on the significance of being a children’s book store owner that I’ve always found to be profoundly true, but never really thought about. When she is contemplating the value of her store and life, she says, “When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.”
What a universal truth! Reading (or not reading for that matter) as a child deeply defines who we are. Books, along with parental guidance and life experiences, determine how we view the world. My fondest memories as a small child were trips to the local library. With books upon books stacked in my arms, I headed to the check-out desk, my mind a-whirl with the daring adventures and crazy characters held between the pages. A world, so very unlike my own, promised new experiences and deeper knowledge of the world around me.
Could I have articulated the meaning of books in my life back then as I just did. Of course not! But now looking back, I fondly remember books that helped define who I am today. Those are big shoes to fill, and I can’t necessarily pinpoint the exact element each contributed to my life, but I know without a doubt it is there.
Take a second with me to head back to the elementary school library or your local public library and remember those stories that encouraged you to smile or laugh, challenged you to change your thinking, allowed you to experience someone else’s pain, and enabled you to grow in mind as you grew in body.
Here’s my short list:
- Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Patterson
- From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Koningsburg
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
- Any novels by Grace Livingston Hill (I think I read them all)
- Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
- Frances the Badger books by Russell Hoban
- Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing, Superfudge, Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, Blubber (All by Judy Blume)