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The First Book I Ever Loved

The first book I ever loved was The Lorax by Dr. Suess. When I was in elementary school, we had library time once a week and we were allowed to check out any book we wanted. I insisted on having The Lorax over and over again, despite how many times the librarians and my teachers urged me to get something else. My week just wasn’t the same unless I had that book clutched against my chest and dissuasions like “it’s a baby book” or diversions to more challenging books were ignored or just fell without impact.

When I saw the question “What was the first book you ever loved?” I knew my answer without hesitating to ponder. I immediately ransacked my bookcase….only to find that I didn’t actually own a copy.

I suppose it should go without saying that I remedied that as quickly as possible. I found myself in Barnes and Nobles with a copy clutched to my chest, and feeling not unlike the younger, smaller version of myself. Happy. Fulfilled, I guess you could say. I was finally bringing it home and finally keeping it all for myself.

Like a little kid, I hunkered down and read through it slowly, greedily, savoring every single word, drinking in the details of each full-color illustration. Reading it still gave me chills as the Once-ler’s disregard for the beautiful world ate away at it, and it made me sad. I did discover, however, that my dismay at seeing trees chopped down to make way for more buildings, parking lots, roads, etc, is probably deeply hooked into this book, as are many of my hippy-ish tendencies when it comes to recycling and such. I find it a little amusing and pretty awe-inspiring to realize that a book had such a profound influence on my life that I’ve carried the lessons with me for over twenty-five years.

Now that I’ve re-read it, it sits on my bookshelf in a place of pride, right beside The Velveteen Rabbit. Right where it belongs.

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