Last month an enormous challenge arrived in my PM box on Facebook from funkybluedandelion.blogspot.com
It read ‘On March 2nd, Dr. Seuss’s birthday, we’re inviting bloggers and others to choose a book they dearly loved in childhood, write a post about it and then donate a copy of it to a school, library or literacy program or give as a gift to a young friend or family member. Each post and donation counts toward our “kindness totals” as part of our larger SpReAd The Love campaign. We have an anonymous donor who is willing to donate a $1 for each act of kindness to RA’s JustGiving charities up to $200 so we’re hoping to max his/her generosity out.
Just to explain – there is a large group of Richard Armitage fans who work very hard to raise money for those of his charities that come under the JustGiving banner. SpReAd The Love is aiming to do just that. I agreed to take up the challenge because I could never deny the influence of Richard Armitage’s Guy of Gisborne in the writing of The Gisborne Saga…
March 2nd – Dr.Seuss’s birthday…
Dr. Seuss thrilled whole generations, and many children grew up knowing exactly what a lorax was or who Horton or the Grinch were.
But I have a true confession.
I have never ever read a Dr.Seuss book. And if my own children read them, it would be from their school libraries but never from their own bookshelves. This is probably a lamentable lapse on my part and yet my children demolished book after book by many other authors and had whole libraries in their bedrooms. Nothing changed, and as Thirty Somethings they are still bookworms.
In my own instance, I still have many of my own children’s books and memories of hundreds of others that could never be carted to each of the ten houses in which my husband and I lived as he moved around Australia as a journalist. As a child, my books were a fantastic escape into adventures peopled by the Famous Five, Anne Shirley, the Billabong kids, Heidi, Tamsin, Drina and dozens of others.
My dilemma in respect of the challenge above was to find that one book that most influenced me as a child. But what to choose?
I nutted it down to four: Mrs. Wag – a Doggy Tail by Author Unknown – a book I have owned for fifty seven years, The Summer of the Great Secret by Monica Edwards, Ballet for Drina by Jean Estoril, and Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.
Tamsin in The Summer of the Great Secret was a lover of horses and my go-to adventurer who rode an enviable horse and had school holiday adventures like challenging smugglers. She taught me the old shepherd’s way of counting – yain, tain tethera, methera etc… (could be vital in my current life of sheep farmer – who knows?) Drina was a ballet student and would become a premiere danseuse. She also lived in Cheshire and then London and toured Europe, which quite won my heart.
And finally, Anne Shirley! She wanted to write books and ‘imagine’. Sigh!
But in the end, I chose Mrs Wag – A Doggy Tale for a number of reasons:
1. Mrs. Wag is a dog and set me on my dog-loving path from five years of age. Simply, I cannot live without a dog in my life.
2. She looks like a Jack Russell terrier and I think subliminally, it was what urged me to have my very own JRT. I have now owned JRT’s for 38 years.
3. The story charmed me – a small (anthropomorphed) dog who rears her children all on her own and is eventually left alone as they make their way in the world. She remembers a little boy who showed her immense kindness and generosity when her pups were babies and seeks him out and then she lives with him (Happily ever After). My whole childhood was built on a foundation of Happily Ever After! I was a lucky babyboomer.
4. The book is palm sized. Today, I love small and miniature books – this may be why.
5. The illustrations are sweet – detailed, colourful and for me, completely memorable.
The big problem in this challenge however, is that I must donate a copy of it to a suitable institution. We are talking about a book I was given in 1956 and which is now so out of date it is a collector’s item. So I am choosing a second book…
The language of Anne of Green Gables resonated as much for me as a child as it does for me now. I love her enthusiasm for life, her dramatic reaction to everything, her observations of all that surrounds her, her love for those with whom she interacts every day. I read Anne maybe once every two years and it’s as fresh each year as it ever was. She is a kindred spirit and my writing mentor…
“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”
“Dear old world’, she murmured, ‘you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.”
“Oh, it’s delightful to have ambitions. I’m so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them– that’s the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting.”
Quite simply, she’s uplifting.
Because there are any number of editions of Anne of Green Gables, I will offer a newly purchased edition of Anne to Ronald Macdonald House where a friend of mine works in my home town of Hobart, Tasmania. I hope that someone staying there whilst a loved one is in hospital, will read it and feel the same positivity emanating from the pages that I have felt ever since I read it for the first time.
And finally, please consider donating to Justgiving.
It would be super if SpReAd the Love could surpass their targets and accordingly help the less fortunate in communities where the need is great.