“Do you know how lucky you are?
She smiled at him wryly. Not most of the time.

fragonard.jpgOh, how do I love Meg, how do I love this book! It was the first piece of literature that caught my imagination on fire. I remember reading it as a child in utter amazement that there could be stories so fantastical, so adventurous. I was in awe at the idea of worlds different from my own, of creatures and things brought into existence only with an author’s words. Madeleine L’Engle hypnotized me with her story, entranced me with her characters and language. Before I read this book, I understood sentence structure and plot lines and happy endings. I understood card catalogs and main points and “the moral of the story”. But I had never been swept away, never cried along with the storyteller. I had never felt my heart pounding with excitement and fear, never before walked to school with my nose stuck in the pages, leaving my feet to find their way alone on the gravel road.

This is the book that called me by name.

It’s why I want to be a writer.

But more importantly, it’s why I want my children to be readers. I want them to discover what words can do, where they can take you. I want them to be swept away, to cry, to laugh. I want them to live on different worlds with strange creatures. I want them to sail ships, and fight dragons, and rescue the needy. I want them to befriend monsters, and discover treasure, and ride dolphins.

What better gift to give?

I don’t know who put A Wrinkle In Time in my hand. I don’t know if was a birthday present, or a Christmas gift, or a hand-me-down. But I do know who gave me the love of reading- my parents. My mother, who pulled us onto her lap and read Dr. Seuss, and Giving Away Susanne… my dad, who read passages from The Hobbit, who used scary voices for giants, and deep and wise voices for wizards. My parents, who let us, all four children, get our own library cards. Who took us faithfully every week to the Summer Reading Program. My parents, who insisted we learn the meaning and spelling of words, who cared about our English grades, and spelling tests and book reports. My parents, who gave (and read) me books of all sorts, knowing that eventually, one would be the key that unlocked a lifetime of reading.

Thank you, Mom and Dad. What you did for me, not all parents do. Thank you for taking the time, for caring. It is a heritage I will pass along to my own children, and they will have their grandparents to thank for it.

“Do you know how lucky you are?” asks Calvin O’Keefe.

Oh yes. Yes, I do.