Summer Reading 3

When you ask most professional writers about their inspiration, they may turn to some of the great authors that came before them. Ernest Hemingway. William Shakespeare. Michael Crichton. While that is certainly true for me, it is also true that much of what I read as a child has been incredibly influential too.

Before I became a published author myself, indeed even before I had any inclination to pursue this as a career, I understood the world through the lens of children’s books. And now, looking back, I have come to realize that while these books are written with the younger audience in mind, they still contain lessons for us grown-ups too.

Charlotte’s Web

He’s radiant. He’s terrific. And even though Wilbur really was just “some pig,” Charlotte was able to save him from the slaughterhouse and turn him into quite the newsworthy sensation.

Charlotte’s Web, if nothing else, demonstrates the power of the written word. Charlotte was able to choose just the right words for the job and that’s exactly what us professional writers aim to do. She may be an unsung hero in the eyes of the fictional masses, but she was the one who orchestrated everything. The live-action movie left something to be desired, but the original book by E.B. White will always be a treasured classic.

Curious George

The lesson from Curious George should be obvious enough: stay curious about the world around you, always questioning things, eager to learn more. Yes, as we meander our way through our lives and careers, we’re going to make mistakes and we’re going to get ourselves in trouble, but that’s how we learn. Curiosity oftentimes diminishes with age, but I don’t think that should be the case. Approach the world with a sense of wonder and you’ll be all the better for it… even if the Man in the Yellow Hat isn’t there to save you.

Winnie the Pooh

Every character in Winnie the Pooh has something to teach us. Piglet teaches us to be cautious and Owl reminds us that appearing smart doesn’t mean that you’re actually knowledgeable.

Above all else, though, we have to learn from Pooh himself. We all have a tendency to over-complicate things, but sometimes the simplest solutions are the best ones. Try not to over-think it. Pooh is practical, even if he usually finds the right answer by accident. Each of Pooh’s tales and poems has something to offer and they’re definitely worth revisiting.


“Clang, clang, rattle-bing-bang. Gonna make my noise all day!”

There’s just something amazing about the books by Robert Munsch. I could have picked out any number of his other offerings, but there’s something unique about Mortimer that’s worth mentioning. As a writer, I want my words to be read. Otherwise, I’m simply writing into a vacuum with my words disappearing into the ether.

Yes, the story of Mortimer is about a little boy who won’t go to sleep, but in this context, it’s really about a boy who wants his voice to be heard. Even when everyone tells him to “be quiet,” he rattles on. For better or worse, it’s usually the loudest voice that gets heard.

What About You?

What books from your childhood influenced you and helped to form the person that you are today? Do you feel these books are just as relevant today as they were when they were first published?