What a Character!

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.