Painting ‘Alice Reading’ by Honor C. Appleton (via Pinterest)
She gives me another book for me to read and snuggle to my side, under my armpit. She is only two and she excitedly points out every object she sees, names them, and begins to count the objects. I begin to wonder, as this toddler begins to wiggle out of my embrace to grab another book, if she will remember all of the books that she loves and is constantly reading?
I look back onto my own life and think of all of the books I had read or was read to me when I was young. They have stayed with me for years and I will still pull some of them out in order for me to read them. I was always a huge bookworm. I would get into trouble because I would be reading when I should have been doing my chores (#rebel).
Dad would read to all of us at the dinner table when we were living in London, having just arrived in England, the stories about Gladys Aylward, Corrie Ten Boom, and other missionaries. Those stories have stayed with me with a long time. Partly to do with the fact that my family are considered missionaries but also because the stories were amazing in themselves. I had listened wide-eyed to stories of these ordinary missionaries who had hidden Jews from the Nazis during WWII or had walked hundreds of miles with a hundred orphans to escape a war zone. You never knew how the story might end.
When I got to the age where I could read most books, a whole world was offered to me on a golden platter. I loved The Chronicles of Narnia, Peter Pan, and Alice in Wonderland because they opened up my imagination. I would daydream about riding on Aslan’s back, being able to fly through the clouds, fight with pirates, and interacting with talking flowers and caterpillars. I read The Lord of the Rings when I was eleven years old, because I was told that I had to read the books if I wanted to watch the movie. I now reread The Lord of the Rings every year. I became obsessed with Anne Frank when I read The Diary of a Young Girl. I spent hours reading about her. The fact that she was my age inspired me to write. I remember the first time reading To Kill a Mockingbird and finally understanding it.
These are the books which I read over and over as a child. I still read them over and over again. They are good friends of mine. We smile, say hello, and pick up where we last left off, and it is something that never ends but keeps on going. After all, once it ends, you can always go back to the beginning. A book never dies.
What books did you love as a child? What stories had an impact on you?