"A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest." -C.S. Lewis
I remember 2 children's books that I would always reread. And when I am stressed,
the first thing I turn to is a children's or a young adult book. Some of the world's greatest authors write for children. The creativity, the simplicity of the language, the laugh out loud rhymes and jokes, the visual that my brain sees brings me a peaceful calm.
The Littlest Angel, by Charles Tazewell, was a very simple story with great illustrations. It was very simple to read, based on the Christmas story of Jesus's birth, and what child does not love Christmas when growing up in a Catholic household.
The 2nd is The Cay, by Theodore Taylor, and has a little more significance to me. I saw the movie with my mom, the first ever with just her and myself. I was having trouble learning to read because I was totally self conscious and embarrassed. I had a speech impediment. Despite receiving speech therapy, during the early 1970's teachers were not really taught how to deal with the special need kid in a mainstreamed class. So I heard too frequently that I was "reading it wrong." I could spit back any plot of any book, but because I could not speak, I "was wrong." So I stopped. How I got through the rest of what I learned without reading, the teachers could not tell me.
The movie version of The Cay starred James Earl Jones. I fell in love at age 9. My mom,
brilliant as she was then and is now, told me I sounded that beautiful when I spoke. The next day she took me to the library to check out the book. And there was James Earl Jones on the cover, as Timothy (I found out later that James Earl Jones struggled with a speech impediment as a kid as well). I have never looked back, never gave up my library card, and even got one in the town that I went to college in. The library became my best friend. I reread that book 5 times, then switched to a book on Pocahontas, then back to The Cay, back and forth. I could really do it, read, you see.
My 4th grade teacher finally pulled the book out of my hands and made me switch to
a totally different book. I went from starting 4th grade at the 2nd grade reading level
to finishing 4th grade reading at the 5th grade reading level.
Simply because someone gave me a
Simply because I could.
Simply because I am.