Childhood favourites are important. The surprise when you discover a story that hits all the right spot, the new experience, the sheer joy of it is exhilarating. It’s a powerful experience to be transported somewhere different, and to discover that words, mere words in black and white, can have this much impact.
My special childhood favourite was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. But here’s the kicker….I didn’t even know that’s what it was.
I was given the Gujarati translation of it – Saagar Samrat (Translation: Emperor of the Ocean) – in school. I read the book, fell in love with it, and was distraught that I had to give it back. It was the first time a book simply absorbed me in its world. At this time, I didn’t read books in English, and had no idea who Jules Verne was. I tried to purchase the Gujarati edition, but didn’t find it anywhere.
Fast forward several years, and I was in a library in New Jersey. Just browsing shelves, as I enjoyed doing, and suddenly I see this book: “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne.” I pick it up, and read the back, and WHAM!! I knew what it was.
I stood there, looking at the book of my childhood – enjoyed once, and then lost forever – and the joy of that moment was tremendous.
That’s what childhood books do. They leave their imprint through their powerful memories. They do things to us, whether it’s to teach us something, or simply show us a new slice of life, or just create ripples of thoughts which might forever make us think.
Tell me about your favourite childhood book. How did you come across this book? What impact did it have on you?