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.
(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.
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.