Can you recall the children's stories that shaped who you are today?
I remember reading illustrated versions of Sunffy the Tugboat; The Little Engine the Could; Sleeping Beauty; Little Red Riding Hood; Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit, The Tale of Two Bad Mice, and Mother Goose. I also had a delightfully illustrated version of fables and allegories which included chapters on “The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg”; “The Story of the Sour Grapes”; and “The Tortoise and the Hare”.
As I grew older and graduated to books without copious illustrations, I read Swiss Family Robinson; Robinson Carosoe; Guliver’s Travels; Dickens’ A Christmas Carol; Treasure Island; Black Beauty; Heidi; and Mark Twain’s delightful duo, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and it’s companion, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. These are the ones that I recall from among a rather large library. I’m working from memory here, so if I’ve got one of the titles wrong or misspelled, feel free to correct me.
I’m sure my parents selected my early library entries based on what sort of character they wished to build in my young, pliant mind. And to a large degree, it worked. The idea of never ending, resolute effort that eventually paid off for Snuffy, the Little Engine, and the plodding Tortoise colored how I think about what I can and can not achieve. The evil plots of witches and big, bad wolves helped build my sense of justice and fairness. Dickens showed me how society often falls far short of delivering fairness, and how it can be shamed into improving its ability to do that. By the time I read Ayn Rand’s appeals to greed and self-interest above all else in Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, I was largely immune to her message.
Who chose what you would read as a child? What did you read, and how has it influenced who you are today?