The Books that Made Me a Reader by Agatha Rodi
“The books that help you most are those which make you think that most. The hardest way of learning is that of easy reading; but a great book that comes from a great thinker is a ship of thought, deep freighted with truth and beauty.” – Pablo Neruda
I had started exploring the magical world of reading when I was in high school. That time back my thinking was centered on only getting good marks while doing my assignments by exhibiting a great zeal for reading. At the beginning reading was like the unknown unfolded in front of my own eyes. I remember myself searching every single word of the stories or poems I chose in trying to decipher the messages hidden in them. That was the feeling, pushing me to discover more for particular notions and words, so this meant more reading!
This obsession of mine bore fruits later on in my life when studying at the university. I was spending my pocket money on buying Shakespeare’s books at the beginning and then I continued with British poets like Alexander Pope.
I was struggling for more knowledge so when I got “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, in my hands, I was automatically driven by the simplicity of the words.
The books I used to borrow from the local library kept me company and reminded me of my early years spent in my village. Reading was a means to know the world and sustain a reading habit, growing my love for books, I got the interest in reading fairy tales and children’s stories.
I also remember watching Heidi on T.V for endless hours and also reading the book written by Johanna Spyri without being bored. Heidi had so many sorrows, frustrations to deal with that I admired her for being so joyful, enthusiastic in helping others and at the same time she was experiencing that great change in her life by being up in the mountains with her grandfather the goats and the sheep. The scenery was familiar to me but I was also so connected with the values that Heidi was getting across such as persistence, fearlessness, and motivation.
Another great book that urged me to read more was Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren. Pippi’s personality broke the conventional ideas about how girls should behave although she made fun of adults. she went to the market in her giant, mill wheel-like hat, dressed in a full-length evening gown and with huge green rosettes on her shoes. She also applied charcoal to her eyebrows and coated her mouth and nails with red paint.
I am freckle faced and my mother’s warning was always not to stay out at the sun for too long because my freckles got angry! When I read the following lines told by Pippi:
‘No, I don’t suffer from freckles’, she declares.
‘But my dear child’, says the startled assistant, ‘your whole face is covered in them.’
‘I know’, says Pippi, ‘but I don’t suffer from them. I like them. Good morning!’
I was surprised by how she was feeling. I didn’t use to like my freckles because made me different from other kids of my age. But after reading the above lines, I got in the process of thinking how beautiful my freckles were and that since Pippi was feeling great, then why I couldn’t feel the same. Reading something written in such a confirmative way, said by a girl of my age had a very positive impact on me.
Later on while being a university student, I was given many books to read as a part of my assignments which grew my interest for reading and I rediscovered my childhood’s companions Heidi, Pippi, The Little Prince, and I brought more children’s books back home every time I traveled abroad. Reading can be your power in discovering your real passion, knowing life from other people’s stories!
Agatha Rodi was born and raised in Patras, Greece, where she has been an English and French teacher for sixteen years. She is the author of a rhyming picture ebook Amelie Gets Busy – a tribute to her yiayia (grandma). She is currently writing another picture book and a novel as well as regular blog posts you can read at agatharodi.wordpress.com.
i loved all of the books above when i was a child. my parents used to read a story to me every evening before going to bed, and these three were always a part of my life. pippi was one of my favourite stories, i think many feel like that, but i also loved all of the other books by astrid lindgren. and erich kästner. and michael ende (i am german, so we mostly read german books). those are the books i learned to read with, these beautiful things that told stories just with these strange signs my parents were able to transform into words.
It’s so great thinking of having these stories read every night, what beautiful memories you have Beevreeland! I haven’t read any books by Erich Kastner but i will surely do starting with “Emil and the Detectives”, i do love the “NeverendingStory” by Michael Ende, it’s fantastic , in sort of poetic i can say, at least for me. Yes, i agree with you, certain books teach us the art of reading and interpretation in the most unbelievable way! What a nice way to start loving books!
I soooo loved the books you mentioned in your post. You’ve brought back wonderful memories for me.
Thank you Lucy for sharing , i do LOOOOVE these books because thanks to the way they are written i became an avid reader. The memories are so precious, indeed, reminding to me what really counts in life.