Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Miami Memories: The Book that Changed my Life

The articles "A" and "The" make a major difference in how the reader interprets the line.  Using "A" book in the title suggests that any book might work, whereas, using "The" plainly states that only one book fits this description.  Naturally, my mind wonders and can make a list, a long list of books that have made a difference in my life, but I'm asking myself and my readers to name only one and how did it change your life.

At age five my mother enrolled me in first grade at a Catholic school for several reasons:  one, I had a new baby sister at home and mother's hands were full (after all she was nearly forty!); two, she called me precocious and inquisitive, not two highly prized skills in that first grade class ruled by a nun with a ruler in her hand.  I quickly learned that straight lines, formal behavior, no talking, no chewing gum were the keys to survival.  This little five year old became lost in the structure, but luckily, the windows were tall and wide and the trees outside beckoned my eyes and imagination to wonder.  

By the end of the year we moved away and a book character, found on the shelves of the Miami, Oklahoma Public Library, entered my life and lifted my tiny trodden spirits.

 Madeline and her many adventures showed me then, and to this day, that even the tiniest of us could be strong and courageous.  My tonsillitis surgery at age four rivaled her appendix surgery; we both nearly drowned.   She was everything I wanted to be: lively, curious, adventurous, and willing to stand up for herself.  She changed my life.

Madeline's Rescue by Ludwig Bemelmans (excerpt)

In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines
Lived 12 little girls in two straight lines,
They left the house at half past nine.
The smallest one was Madeline.
She was not afraid of mice,
She loved winter, snow, and ice.
To the tiger in the zoo
Madeline just said, "Pooh Pooh!"
And nobody knew so well
How to frighten Miss Clavel--
Until the day she slipped and fell.
Poor Madeline would now be dead
But for a dog that kept his head, 
And dragged her safe from a watery grave.
"From now on, (spoke Clavel) I hope you will listen to me,
And here is a cup of camomile tea."

What Book Changed Your Life? How or Why?  Please fix a hot cup of tea, reflect, and respond to my question.

Comments can be placed below, emailed to me, or messaged on facebook.


  1. i think the bible is obvious as most of us could say that ... but there are two i read asa kid that helped make me who i am one is the Lucy Maud Montgomery stories of Anne of Green gables.... i actually read them up through the 6th book when Marilla got sick and looked like she would die and I stopped right then still have the book mark in it.... the second book was Light a Single Candle... i feared going blind for years I had so many of the heroines problems.... love that book and author as well. CCS

  2. A couple of books come mind, I was always around animals growing up in Miami, until I was 13 and Dad passed. We had pigs, cows, chickens and lots of Goats, Dad sold the goats milk to several families around Miami and we did this all while living in the city limits of Miami. So most of my reading was stories of animals. The two that I recall are "Big Red & White Fang" kinda ironic these are about dogs and I never could have a dog because of all the animals around. RLJ

  3. I've already told you how my reading world opened up while you read Island of the Blue Dolphins to our class during library time--so much so that I didn't remember listening to the story inside a giant plastic bubble you constructed for story time! I just remember the story. :)
    In high school, Mrs. West made us read The Hobbit in junior English. What a wonderful, beautiful, imaginative story! This lead directly to The Lord of the Rings--of course! These books are at the top of my list for the best ever written. I am in awe when I think about all Tolkien put into those books! The whole story line is so thoroughly complete and captivating. I can get immersed in those books, though not as thoroughly as my daughter! ;)
    I could go on and on (example: our senior year of HS we had to read 1984--talk about something staying with you!).....
    But thanks, Letty, for encouraging a young me in the world of reading. :)