“No matter what anybody tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”
~ John Keating in the Dead Poets Society
And if not the world at large, then surely the worlds of the individuals who read. I cannot remember a time in my life when books where not important to me.
In the third grade my teacher started reading our class The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, one chapter per day. Well, she was not reading fast enough for my taste so I got my Mom to purchase the book for me. I finished it over the weekend, and my life was never the same after that.
I started reading just about anything I could get my hands on.
As I tore through the pages in book after book I was no longer just a young girl growing up in Seattle. I found new worlds in the back of old wardrobes. I traveled from India to England on a boat to live with an uncle I had never met. I lived in the big woods with Ma & Pa, Mary and baby Carrie with not a soul around for miles on end and wild animals roaming around freely. Then later I discovered a beautiful world where the smallest of people set out to recover gold stolen by a dragon.
The years passed and I realized that I was not just reading about people in books. I was reading about my friends. I was there with them when they faced their fears, when they were scared, when they didn’t have a friend in the world. And the most amazing thing began to happen, as they learned lessons and fought their own monsters, so did I. When real events in my own life were unsettling, I thought about my friends in my books, wondered how they would handle things, and tried to follow their lead.
My world was changed, and I began a life-long quest to find books where the characters knew how I felt, so I could learn how they coped. Because the thing about great literature, is that it’s themes are enduring.
One of the reasons I wanted to homeschool my children is so I could choose the books they read through the course of their young lives, and I find that I have become very picky! I don’t trust anything written in the last 50 years, unless I get a recommendation from a reliable source! I have my own list of “must reads” in childhood, and more about them later. For now, I would love to hear from you. What are some of your most favorite books from childhood?