I have two embarrassing confessions today.

The first is simple. I did NOT know it was #NationalBookLoversDay until late in the afternoon (how did I miss it!?) when I was rummaging around on Instagram and found an absolutely perfect picture of red books shaped into a heart. I have since wandered into other places online to further explore the day's conversation and have seen other great heart/book pictures. But I'm mostly just still in love with (haha!) the red spine heart created by Kyra of Fairless Hills Library

photo by @fairlesshillslibrary on Instagram

photo by @fairlesshillslibrary on Instagram

(FWIW, in my day job I work on Valentine's Day thus I have a keen interest in all things heart and red and love. At this point, my kids are so in tune to my heart-love that they manage to find hearts everywhere - "Mommy, look!" - a misshapen spaghetti noodle, a small pool of honey on top of yogurt, this rock, that leaf, etc. "If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around." Thank you, Richard Curtis.

Embarrassing confession the second: I started this whole project claiming my belief in the transformative power of children's literature. But I hadn't done a good job of really thinking through which books transformed me. It's a powerful question. So when - on one of my online meanderings earlier - I saw that the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators was asking on Twitter "What book changed your life?" I decided to give it some thought and perhaps try to narrow it down to three. 

As an adult: Life of Pi by Yann Martel. As a teen/tween: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. As a child: Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin Jr., John Archambault, and Ted Rand. 

I don't think it's fair to pin down just one transformative text from childhood. Because ... um ... there's a LOT of transforming going on in those early years. "They grow up so fast!" we all say about the kids we know. But the truth is - we all grew up so fast, too. And the whole of childhood, I believe, must be majorly, minorly, and profoundly impacted by way too much to pin down into only one book. 

by Bill Martin, Jr., John Archambault, and Ted Rand

by Bill Martin, Jr., John Archambault, and Ted Rand

Despite the impossibility of this assignment, I picked Knots on a Counting Rope only because I can still so vividly remember my mind being blown when the blind boy says to his grandfather "I see the horses with my hands. But I cannot see the blue. What is blue?" It's a question I still can't answer satisfactorily today. But that I have wanted to answer all this while.

I've forgotten a lot since I was a kid. But I have never forgotten that feeling. 

PS: You know what else I forgot? That Meg Ryan's bookstore in "You've Got Mail" is a KID'S BOOKSTORE! My friend Kim reminded me of that last weekend when we were shopping kids books together. How did I not remember that?! So maybe that's 3 embarrassing confessions today.