This morning I was doing my usual round of blog browsing and came across this post about The Art of Reading. It describes a book called Shadow of the Wind. In it, a young boy is taken to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. He is asked to choose one "making sure that it will never disappear, that it will always stay alive." One character tells the boy, "Every book ... has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands ... its soul strengthens."
I immediately thought of my favorite book from childhood.
The story. The illustrations. Be still my heart. My mom read this to me countless times. Then I read it myself. Again and again. Andrew Henry is the middle of five kids, sandwiched between two older sisters and two younger brothers. He is left out and misunderstood. Andrew Henry has a passion for inventing and building. He builds the most clever, hilarious things that have all his family members annoyed. When everyone has had enough, he moves to a quiet meadow and builds a home for himself. One by one, he is joined by the town's other misunderstood children- the girl who loves birds, the one who has too many pet rabbits, the boy who loves fishing. The list goes on. Each child gets a specially-designed house and before long, they have a lovely little village.
Eventually, the families go looking for the missing children. The reunion picture is one of my favorites. This illustration amazes me with the fact that pen and ink can be used to convey sheer joy. The faces, the embraces, arms flung open, children running to their parents, even thankful sisters and brothers. I scoured the internet but couldn't find the image to share with you. In the end, everyone has gained an appreciation for each other.
That is why I immediately thought of this book to save from the Cemetery of Forgotten Books BUT... it would appear, after searching the internet, it is not so forgotten. I found several blogs that wrote about sharing this book with their children. I even found information on a film adaptation that is in the works. That makes me happy and sad. Happy with the possibilities that it could be a fabulous adaptation, sweet and meaningful. Sad with the thought that it could be an over-the-top modern day adaptation relying on fart jokes and smart-mouth kids for laughs. I'll remain cautiously optimistic, hoping for the best. Either way if you are interested in the story or sharing it with your children, I suggest you buy a copy and enjoy it before the film version threatens to ruin it. But that's just me. I consider myself a bit of a "book Nazi", requiring reading any book before seeing the movie.
Now back to Shadow of the Wind. Near the end of the book, there is this quote:
On page 444, "Julian had once told me that a story is a letter the author writes to himself, to tell himself things that he would be unable to discover otherwise." And on page 484, "Bea says that the art of reading is slowly dying, that it's an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us, that when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind ..."
What fabulous thoughts on reading and writing. I love when an author presents sentences that feel as if they pierce your heart, take your breath away and make you sit and ponder them. These ideas combined with the Cemetery of Forgotten Books have me wanting to add this to my already-too-long list of books to read.
What's on your to-read lost? What book would you save from the Cemetery of Forgotten Books?
Happy St. Paddy's Day,