Brynn is only seven weeks old, but she has already had a lifetime’s worth of lessons via the books she’s been read. Here is a list of the books and what I hope they convey to her brand new brain:
The Red Wolf by Margaret Shannon: BE CLEVER. In this book, Roselupin is a princess who has been imprisoned in a tall, stony tower by her well-intentioned but misguided father, the king. He wants to protect her from the wild and dangerous world, but in doing so, he also removes her from the joys of life as well. On her seventh birthday, however, Roselupin receives a surprise present: a chest full of balls of wool with a note that says, “Knit what you want.” That night, she knits herself a red wolf suit, speaks some magic words, and is transformed into a giant wolf that bursts from the tower into freedom.
There is more to the story, and a surprise ending to boot, but the central idea I hope you take from it, Brynn, is to be resourceful and clever and to use the tools available to find solutions to knotty problems.
Goodnight Songs: Illustrated by Twelve Award-Winning Picture Book Artists by Margaret Wise Brown: BE MUSICAL. Your father gave me this book for Mother’s Day this year in anticipation of your birth. It is a collection of poems written by the author of Goodnight Moon and is illustrated by several different authors. A CD comes with the book, but I’ve never listened to it. I like to read the poems and make up my own melodies for you. Music has played a huge role in my life, and I hope that you pick up on how important it is to have some form of beauty in your life.
Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! (Big Bright & Early Board Book) by Dr. Seuss: BE CONFIDENT. “Think left and think right, think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try.” Most people would say that this is a book about thinking and creativity, but I really like the part of the message about trying. I’d like you, Brynn, to grow up knowing that you can do almost anything if you only put your mind to it. Effort reaps rewards, and it’s not just about how smart you are.
Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You : Dr. Seuss’s Book of Wonderful Noises (Bright and Early Board Books) by Dr. Seuss: BE SILLY. Moo, buzz, boom boom boom, dibble dibble dop your way through life, Brynn, and don’t worry a fig about what other people think. It took having kids of my own before I finally learned this lesson, but I hope you learn to have a silly, wonderful time dancing through life.
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams: BE REAL. “‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.’”
Oh, Brynn. This will be one of the biggest challenges of your life. To be Real. People will make fun of you because they are jealous and call you names because they are insecure, but they are little people in the end and can never change who you are as long as you remain committed to this idea of being Real.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle: BE ENGAGED. I’d love for your life’s mantra to be “What do I see?” I used to have my Seniors do a ten minute writing on a quote that says, “Being bored is an insult to oneself,” and I can’t help but agree. Everything in life has the potential to teach you something, even if it’s what not to do, so keeping your eyes open and taking time to think about what you see is one of the most valuable lessons I could teach you.
I Love You Through And Through by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak and Caroline Jayne Church: BE LOVED. Find a few really good friends and a best friend for a partner and you won’t go wrong, Brynn. They make life worth living. And always know how loved you are.
Your first month and a half in books, Brynn. Be happy, girlfriend…