Throwback Thursday: Childhood Reads

Throwback Thursday: Childhood Reads

*Contributed by Sarah Jackson*

 

It was my first year of college and I decided to audition for several student­directed one acts on campus. After a handful of unmemorable auditions with various directors, I was welcomed by a senior with a warm face and a gentle voice.

“Do you have a piece prepared?” she asked.
My stomach dropped. What now?
“Sorry?” I blinked.
“Do you have anything memorized that you’d like to perform for me before I give you the

script for my piece?” She must have seen my panicked expression because she added, “It’s not required, it’s just that some people have something prepared.”

I was about to tell her that evidently, I was an actor of the ill­prepared variety when I thought of something.

“Well, I do have something memorized,” I said. “It’s a children’s book.”
“Great!” she said. “Let’s hear it!
So I started in on my rendition of
Tacky the Penguin, a sweet and raucous picture book 
by Helen Lester and Lynn Munsinger, which I’d memorized after countless readings with the many children I babysat in middle and high school. I flailed my arms and jumped around to convey Tacky’s unorthodox marching pattern. I put on my best terrified face as the penguins realize that there are hunters coming. Most importantly, I sang Tacky’s song as “loudly and dreadfully” as I could: “HOW MANY TOES DOES A FISH HAVE? AND HOW MANY WINGS ON A COW? I WONDER, YUP, I WONDER!” I felt the thrill of the stage, of penguin friendship rediscovered, of storytelling itself.

“Wonderful!” the senior said. “I really enjoyed that. Now here’s the piece I’ll be doing. It’s about a woman who commits suicide.”

Needless to say, I wasn’t the best fit for the role.

 

 

 

Cut to ten years earlier, when I was given Tacky as a birthday present from some close family friends and it quickly became one of my favorites. Cut to five years after that when I started babysitting and realized what a wonderful read aloud book it was. Cut to three years after that when I went on a semester­long trip around the world and sent postcards back to the kids I babysat from Tacky. Cut to eight years after I graduated college and I included Tacky in my MFA thesis. Cut to the last few years as I write graduation notes to the children I used to babysit, reminding them of Tacky’s relentless authenticity, and encouraging them to continue becoming the truest versions of themselves. Cut to next week or one year or twenty years from now, perhaps, as I face one challenge or another, and I borrow some of Tacky’s bravery as he stood up to the penguin hunters (with their “maps and traps and rocks and locks”!).

Nostalgia is, according to U.S. diplomat George Ball, a “seductive liar.” But we who love books know that stories are also seductive liars, and, like Picasso, we know that these lies that art tells can make us “realize truth.” We know that certain books grab hold of us and demand to be reread throughout our lives. Do I love Tacky because I think it’s a good book? Yes. Definitely. Do I also love Tacky because I used to love Tacky? Yes. Definitely.

Some may say that nostalgia blinds us, preventing us from evaluating things neutrally. First, it is impossible to ever evaluate things neutrally; we are always a fantastic swirl of biases and preferences and a host of other cultural and emotional responses. But I also suspect that nostalgia in its best form makes the past, the present, and the future better simultaneously. The more I read Tacky, the more it becomes, and the more I become too. 

Rate this blog entry:
Five books to read if you loved Stranger Things on...
It's Live!! Cover Reveal: Firebrand by A.J. Hartle...

Related Posts

 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Eight Days on Planet Earth
How long does it take to travel twenty light years...
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation
Even monster-battling princesses get tired sometimes! But a peaceful time...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Refugee.jpg
JOSEF is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany....
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
SwingitSunnyjpg
Summer's over and it's time for Sunny Lewin to enter...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
TheWitchBoy.jpg
In thirteen-year-old Aster's family, all the girls are raised to...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Let's Investigate with Nate #1: The Water Cycle
Bill Nye the Science Guy meets The Magic School Bus!...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The 12 Dares of Christa
Christa is a holiday junkie. What’s not to love? There’s...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Frazzled: Ordinary Mishaps and Inevitable Catastrophes
Things are looking up for Abbie Wu: this year she’ll...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Tiger's Watch (Ashes of Gold #1)
Sixteen-year-old Tashi has spent their life training as a...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Blight
Seventeen-year-old Tempest Torres has lived on the AgraStar farm...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
See Fred Run
Learning to read has never been more fun than it...
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Solo
From award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Kwame...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Being Jamie Baker (Jamie Baker #1)
"Most superhero stories start with a meteor shower or...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
How to Disappear
Vicky Decker has perfected the art of hiding in...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Ferocious (Vicarious #2)
Paula Stokes returns to the world of Vicarious in...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Monster of Selkirk Book I: The Duality of Nature
Monsters come in many forms, and not everyone knows a...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Eight Days on Planet Earth
 
3.3
""I want to believe." Agent Scully's take from the X files is shown here when a mysterious girl shows up..."
The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation
 
4.5
"The Princess in Black protects the people and the goats from monsters that come up from their underground home. She..."
 
3.5
"Bella is terrified of her step-father. When her mother dies and her sister disappears, Bella knows she must plot her..."
The Witch Boy
 
5.0
"Many of the stories out there deal with girls who go against the grain and want to do what society..."
Swing It, Sunny
 
4.7
"Again Jennifer and Matt Holm prove they are the dynamic duo when it comes to graphic novels and story telling...."
Solo
 
5.0
"Told entirely in verse, Solo is a story full of love, loss, addiction and music. Like Kwame Alexander's previous books,..."
Refugee
 
5.0
"Alan Gratz does it again with Refugee. Gratz knows how to weave historical facts and great story telling flawlessly. Refugee..."
Let's Investigate with Nate #1: The Water Cycle
 
5.0
"In LET'S INVESTIGATE WITH NATE, the doors of the Science Museum become a portal to another world, but only an..."
This Savage Song
 
4.0
"This Savage Song is a uniquely peculiar novel that cleverly combines magic, monsters and music. Dark, violent and monstrous, the..."
The 12 Dares of Christa
 
4.3
"'The 12 Dares of Christa' by Marissa Burt is a sweet story of friendship, determination, strength, and forgiveness. Main character..."
Frazzled: Ordinary Mishaps and Inevitable Catastrophes
 
5.0
"'Frazzled: Ordinary Mishaps and Inevitable Catastrophes' by Booki Vivat is an adorable, illustrated story that not only proves a fast..."
See Fred Run
 
3.5
"'See Fred Run' by Kevin Bolger, and illustrated by Ben Hodson, is a story about main character Fred and his..."
Where's Waldo? 30th Anniversary Edition
 
5.0
"Where's Waldo is an iconic search and find activity book that has been entertaining people for 30 years. This 30th..."
The Little Girl Who Didn't Want to Go to Bed
 
4.5
"THE LITTLE GIRL WHO DIDN'T WANT TO GO TO BED is about a girl who will do anything to stay..."
Mr. Biddles
 
5.0
"MR. BIDDLES stars a cat named Mr. Biddles who is an inventor. He creates all types of new gadgets and..."
Uni the Unicorn and the Dream Come True
 
4.5
"In UNI THE UNICORN AND THE DREAM COME TRUE, magic is weakening amongst the unicorns because of the never-ending rain...."
Pashmina
 
3.5
"Priyanka Das’s mother does not like Priyanka asking questions about India and her life there, but that doesn’t stop Pri..."
How to Disappear
 
5.0
"I am so absolutely in love with Sharon Huss Roat. Her books are funny, relatable, and so easily devoured. I..."
Penguins Love Their ABC's
 
4.0
"In PENGUINS LOVE THEIR ABC'S, Mama Penguin hides ABC's in the snow for her six children to seek out. They..."
David Inside Out
 
5.0
"David Inside Out is a novel about a teenager (David) who is discovering he is gay. In David's high school,..."