Jul 13, 2010

The Magic of Children's Books

I've been meaning to get my hands on this book.  I hear it's a real gem.  One  question.  "What children's book changed the way you see the world?"  Okay, okay... maybe two questions because more importantly Anita Silvey asks "How?" 

Of course there isn't just one answer (is there ever?) but over a hundred by notable leaders and figures from different fields. Business, politics, arts, medicine, journalism, sports. The works.  

William DeVries, who helped develop the world's first artificial heart chose Wizard of Oz thinking about the lines of Tin Woodman many, many times over his lifetime. "For my part, I will bear all the unhappiness without a murmur, if you will give me a heart." 

Nona, I know Chicha loves Ezra Jack Keats'  Snowy Day.  Looks like she's not alone. Author Sherman Alexie chose this one for the very reason that "it was pretty much the only protagonist with dark skin..It was the first time I looked at a book and saw a brown, black, beige character - a character who resembled me physically and spiritually, in all his gorgeous loneliness and splendid isolation"  leading him to believe  "People might want to listen to me too." 

Kinda makes you think what yours is, doesn't it?


Nona said...

Hmmm... it would be a whole bunch of books from when I was really young to the teenage years. Dear Lord, books were my sanity saver! But since we're talking children's books...

Dr. Suess' Green Eggs and Ham for making me look beyond preconceived notions.

Dr. Seuss in general for making me realize the power of absurdity. With the insane family drama going on around me as a child, his humor was a great escape. Using your mind and imagination and looking at things with humor can be a great coping mechanism.

In the same sense... very crucial was Alice in Wonderland. I could identify with her being surrounded by nutcases. Haha! She showed imagination, wonder and strength. She fell through the hole, dealt with a bunch of weirdos--including a Queen who wanted her beheaded--but escaped with her head intact! Now that's a powerhouse of magical metaphors for me : )

Nana said...

Nona, I do! I totally see you as Alice.. with matching supporting cast. And I'm not naming names. haha!

I loved Green Eggs and Ham and everything Seuss too! I remember getting your Bear a couple of them when he was just 1 or 2. We wanted him to love the Seuss series too. Remember?

Then there was Hope for the Flowers for teaching me about dying and living and knowing what counts so early on. And, of course, what was not to love about The Little Prince a few years after.

Nostalgic nanaman.

Strategic Stiletto said...

Nana, Nona - Alice got my Mama and I started on a tradition. We would do afternoon tea and catch up with each other, talking about our days. Not sure how long that lasted, but I do remember feeling very grown up!

I was (and still am) strongly influenced by Dr. Suess and ee cummings - fascinating combinings of words to form new concepts, new words even. Part of the reason why my eyes got so bad was that I would read after lights out! With a flashlight, or squeezing light from the fluorescent 'guard lights' (as Papa called them) outside. Thank goodness for laser eye surgery :)

Nana said...

Strategic T, your mama got us started on so many good reads when we were small. Helped to have a super cool literature teacher for an aunt. Loved sitting in in her Shakespeare classes too. Remember?