Aug 14, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Day 21

Day 21: Favorite Book from Your Childhood

“So he left the path for a shortcut across the field. And the moon went with him.”

I have so many childhood favorites! During my childhood, my parents loved that I would spend my time either reading or playing outside (granted we didn’t own game consoles or have cable/satellite, and our computer games were all the educational, yet “fun” kind), but they also realized that when my nose was in a book, I was oblivious to the world.
I started young, too: instead of a teddy bear, I carried around my mother’s Reader’s Digest magazines. I couldn’t tell you why; maybe it was sentimental. Who knows? But I do know that as a child, I loved books that sparked my imagination. In particular, I loved Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson.

I so badly wanted a purple crayon like Harold’s. I wanted to create a whole new world just by drawing it. I had a vivid imagination and as I got older, I would write little fantasy tales, or make giant forts in the woods with grand halls and tall towers. I even had a giant fallen ash tree for a ship. My entire childhood spent outdoors and in books was a product of Harold and the Purple Crayon, and the imagination it sparked.

Well this is easily my favorite prompt thus far.

When you work for a press that almost exclusively works with middle-grade and children's picture books, it is helpful to be a fan of both. Luckily, I was bit by the book bug awfully early and I am still very much infected with a love of great illustration and goofy, exciting text. 

My brain will not stop shouting titles at me, though! There are too many wonderful, nostalgic books from my childhood that it's nearly impossible to pick the single one that jumps out the most. So, I am rolling a die--literally, I am rolling a twenty-sided die at my desk--and going with the assigned book.


My choice today is Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester. What I love, love, love about this book is how over-the-top the aptly named Tacky is. As a penguin, Tacky is expected to conform to the very prim and proper ways of his flock. But when you're decked out in a bow tie and Hawaiian shirt, it's hard not to march to the beat of your own drum. I had an audio book of this title, and I can so clearly hear the narrator shouting: "What's happening?!" just like Tacky would to his friends with a hearty slap on the back. As both a big fan of penguins and quirky illustration, this is exactly what toddler Josh needed to foster creativity and individuality--definitely a favorite.


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