In particular, I've been thinking about the entrance essay I wrote when I applied to Scholar's College. Our topic was the book that influenced us the most. I wish that I had a copy of the actual essay to share, but all I have are the memories of the general gist.
I began by acknowledging that I suspected most students were going to write about Shakespeare, the Bible and other great works, but the book that influenced me the most only has two dozen pages.
I then gave the plot summary for The Tawny Scrawny Lion.
It's not exactly like this (below), but it's close.
I made the point that this Little Golden Book was the most influential book because it was my favorite when I was a very young child. My mother read it to me and instilled a love a reading. It's the first book that I read for myself, that I learned to read for myself. Without this book, I would not have gone on to read any of the great and influential classics.
When I was accepted to Scholars, I remember meeting my advisor, Dr. D'Amato. She asked me which paper had been mine. When I told her, I remember her telling four of the other professors that I was the the student with the children's book essay. I remember being surprised that more than one professor would have reviewed the essay.
I've also been thinking about all the other wonderful Golden Books I grew up hearing read and reading for myself. All the characters that I know and love.
My mother passed these books on to me and my youngest son has an entire shelf dedicated to Little Golden Books.
But I also remember my beloved Serendipity Books.
My mother passed this collection on to me as well, and I've fleshed it out over the years. These occupy a shelf on my oldest son's bookcase.
And I realized that every one of these tales are lessons in being a better person or learning how to deal with an issue. Don't give up. Be kind. Think about your actions. There is always hope. Love, Creativity and Friendship are important. Always be You. (You get the idea.)
I'm frequently asked how I can be so upbeat and positive most of the time.
I think I've finally found the answer:
A lifetime of enjoyment of children's tales.