What a Character!

Traci S. Sanders

Have you ever been inspired by a character in a book? For me, it started with Olaf, a young boy who so desperately wanted to read (like me), but was not quite there yet (like me), that he accidentally put his mother’s letter in the garbage instead of the mailbox. To my four-year-old-self, I thought this story was just about the funniest thing I had ever heard – and something I probably would have done if my mom (like Olaf’s) had given me the chance. I still have this book – as you may have guessed.

And it still puts a smile on my face. Olaf’s misadventures in reading inspired me to read.

Today, Olaf remains my first favorite character in my first favorite book. And, like so many beloved books, this one consists of a duct-taped spine, ripped and crumpled pages, and attempts to write my name where the author wrote hers.

I love that my parents saved this story for me, somehow knowing that, at some stage of my life, I would treasure it. I have tried to do the same for my children, lining them up on their shelves. And when they pass one and share a memory, it makes me realize that a book is, truly, a pebble in a pond where the ripple effects are often far deeper and wider than first realized.

I suppose this is why parents keep their children’s most loved books long after they’ve stopped reading them. It’s also why those same children, years later, cherish these very same stories.

Enjoy your children’s favorites.