How many remember reading time in kindergarten or elementary school? I certainly do. This was one of my favorite activities (behind the yummy snacks and napping on the foam mats). What I loved was the ability to dream; the opportunity to walk through the shoes of the character(s) from the books. Living in a rural area didn’t lend to a lot of options. Books were the great escape to explore the world.
One book that I remember is Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle. The story details the escapades of a mouse (Ralph), living in an inn, who finds a tiny toy motorcycle lost by a young guest. His whole world opens up. And in subsequent books, Ralph experiences more adventures.
What grabbed me about Mrs. Cleary’s writing was how well she conveyed stories for young readers. Her work was not only interesting, but had an element of education from the perspective of the characters. It was like being Ralph as opposed to being told what Ralph did. To me this is huge considering the book was first published in 1967. Books from this era entertained rather than look at the world from the mind and viewpoint of a child.
All in all, I went on to read her other works in the series and developed a love for reading. By 4th or 5th grade, I had graduated to writing my own thoughts via a diary. The storytelling didn’t come until around 7th grade. And now as an adult, I’m working on books of my own.
I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge Mrs. Cleary’s contributions to my development. I only hope that my writing will inspire others as she has done for me.