My reading life began with a picture book called The Littlest Rabbit. I would solemnly quote the first page, “Everybody is bigger than I am,” entertaining my family by (unknowingly) speaking the truth about my place in the big, wide world. That world placed limitations on what I could do and where I could go, but the book world — my world — was simultaneously about discovery and adventure, safety and familiarity, a place I could set the rules and make the boundaries, carry the flashlight and lead the way. My book world was a place I could revisit as often as I wanted, relaxing in the steadiness of treasured words and friends.
I loved Charlie, with his hard-won golden ticket in hand; Taran, the pig boy turned hero; and Edmund Dantes, the innocent imprisoned in the Chateau D’If. Doctor Doolittle and Scarlett O’Hara. Guy Montag and Mary Poppins.
I learned about the Holocaust while reading When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, about the middle ages while reading Katherine, and the French Revolution while reading Desiree. I learned about heartache alongside Jody when he lost his beloved Flag. (Rereading The Yearling as an adult, I ached in a new way — as a parent watching a child face hardship for the first time). I learned compassion reading Follow My Leader and Mine For Keeps.
“I am a part of everything that I have read,” John Kieran said, and my life echoes this truth, for who I am is richer, broader, and kinder because of my book world and the characters who’ve met me there.
What books have shaped your Book World?