I did. It, do not, could never choose one book. As a kid I cut my teeth on Golden Arch books where I made stories fit the pictures since my tiny dyslexic self took a minute to learn to read. I graduated to a picture Bible & comics which quickly morphed into a love (deep and abiding) for fairy tales…for sci-fi…for fantastic literature. None of that had gone away. I grew up with a mind meant for metaphors in a world of sarcasm and similes.
I adored Brownie Bear perched in my grandfather’s lap, waiting through the ritual of filling and lighting the pipe, ready for a beloved story about pushing yourself and still listening to your folks.
I read the CS Lewis books so many times my copies were held to tether with tape, love, and rubber bands. I walked for months with hobbits from The Shire. In sixth grade I was introduced to Shakespeare (who just twisted older tales like a boss) while seventh grade led me to “I have no fear, for fear is the little death that kills me over and over. Without fear, I die but once.” I still look to Lewis, Tolkien, and Herbert when I’m battling The Fear.
In the classroom for 27 years I’ve gotten decent at the reread and recognize story game in Beowulf, The Scarlet Letter, Macbeth, and all the faves. I’m also embracing new faves with more modern and diverse content. What a great time to be living in a place that doesn’t yet ban or burn books, but let’s kids learn and grow…
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