My most treasured place in the world is the library. In particular, the rather massive library that I would often visit when I lived in Chicago. To me, a five-year-old with crippling shyness, the library was my second home.
I have vivid memories of standing in Chicago Public Library’s children’s book section. I would look at rows upon rows of colorful bookjackets, aware that each housed an original mindtrip. (You know that expression “like a kid in a candy shop?” Yeah, for me that was “like a kid in a library.”) When I read, I would devour my books. Every word was taken into consideration, and every picture or painting was meticulously examined until I was familiar with every detail. I most especially like artwork of faces; perhaps this is why one of my favorite books is Where the Wild Things Are.
Today, my three-year-old sister Ania came home from the library with Wild Things. On instinct, I grabbed the book, plopped myself onto her floor and began reading it to myself. Ania thought that this was quite funny, of course, because she considers me a grown-up whose duty is to read books to her. She pointed at me and said simply, “read.” So I did.
I can’t believe that I am 18 years old, that I was reading these books thirteen years ago. Mon Dieu! And now my favorite children’s book is turning into a movie. Which is alright, I suppose. But I don’t want Ania to see that movie for at least three more years. I want her to spend hours imagining the “rumpus” based on the book’s brilliant illustrations, just as I did. Unfortunately, I have since forgotten about simple but powerful stories in children’s books. I can no longer call myself a “wild thing.” I can, however, attempt to instill the same love that I possessed in Ania, a girl who is growing up in a generation of instant gratification on iPhones and ask ChaCha. I hope to have my own children, and naturally I’ll do the same with them… because days of innocence are the happiest days of any person’s life.
uh oh. here it comes: