For the love of words
I remember pouring over the squiggly lines on the paper and desperately wanting to know what it all meant. I found a pen and piece of paper and started imitating what I saw … the t’s and l’s were the easiest ones to imitate and my page was filled with them.
I wished I could read. When my father worked with my brothers on their homework, I sat beneath the table listening. As long as I stayed quiet, they didn’t mind me.
My brother who was two years older than me saw my curiosity and one day he sat down and read to me. I don’t remember how exactly it happened but I caught on and soon I was reading all his books.
He told my parents but they didn’t believe him. He gave me his book to read out-loud. My parents thought I’d memorized the words and so they brought another one and still another. This was the year before I began school.
We lived in a small village in the Peruvian Andes and books were not easily found but whatever they brought to me, I could read.
I’m finding that the memories that linger most in our minds are often the ones that shape our life destiny. My parents thought I would grow up to be a star pupil and become someone important like a doctor or a pharmacist. That didn’t’ happen.
But what has remained from those early years is a love for words, their meaning and most of all the stories they tell.
Maybe that’s why I’m so excited about opening our small library at our school. It’s been a dream in the making ever since our school opened five years ago … and as far as I know it is the only children’s library with English books in our city of about 100,000 here in Czechia.
I live in country that appreciates books and that makes me happy. I’ve tried to pass on my love of books to my children by reading to them and encouraging them to read but for whatever reason they haven’t taken to them as I had at their age.
I’m not a librarian and really know nothing about cataloging books. A young friend who is on his way to getting a PhD in library science came over from the U.S. to help me set up mine. What a blessing!
I once heard two seasoned writers talking about whether God likes books and the conclusion was yes, of course. He wrote one. It’s been the number one best seller every year. We have a few of them in our small collection suitable for every age.
Yes, it will be interesting to see whether my own three kiddos will join the reading challenge I’ve set up and whether the other hundred plus Czech families who attend our school will venture into reading books that are not in their native tongue.
The Czech language is my fourth one … it’s challenging but I know it’s possible. As I sit at the small desk in our little library looking at the books around me … I feel so at home. One day, Lord willing, my book will be among those on the shelf.