My friend, author/illustrator Elizabeth Dulemba, recently asked me if I could remember the book or story that made me fall in love with reading.
|A book on ancient sculpture started it all for me.|
I had to tell her the truth. No, I did not.
I do remember, however, the moment I fell in love with the subject that would fascinate me for most of my life—the ancient world. And, oddly enough, the love affair began with a series of images, not words.
While in a public library at age 10 or 11 or so, I came across a book on classical statues. Had someone left the oversized book on the table? Had a librarian put the book into my hands? I can’t recall. But I do remember absolutely losing my breath with awe at the sumptuous photographs.
The beauty, the symmetry, the grace, the realism—there was no other way of describing my response to the ancient artwork but to say that I’d been twitterpatted, gobsmacked and verklempt all at once.
Who were these people that created such beauty? What were their lives like? What kind of world did they live in? How was it possible that artwork they carved thousands of years ago still had the power to move me so deeply?
That’s the thing about books. We never know what will entrance a child. It may be a story about dinosaurs, gladiators or submarines. Or maybe a book on bugs, ballet or planets. It could be the tale of a boy digging endlessly in the desert (Holes) or a girl learning to fly a biological warship in the shape of a giant whale (Leviathan).
The nature of falling in love is that it’s often unpredictable and unexpected. Falling in love with reading is like having a passionate affair that never gets old or boring. Until the day we die, we can lose ourselves in stories that fascinate, shock, entrance, or inspire us to do good in the world.
Elizabeth is sharing her own story of falling in love with books this Friday (http://dulemba.blogspot.com) as part of the 2011 “Share A Story, Shape a Future” literacy campaign (http://www.share-a-story-shape-a-future.net).
Check it out. And then let me know—what story or book did you first fall in love with?