I've been thinking recently about the magic of childhood books. Not necessarily children's books but the books we read as children that resonate with us even now in adulthood. Two years ago I was working a job that bit by bit was killing my soul. I was depressed at work and on weekends I was miserable dreading the start of the work week. During this time I found myself drawn to the books I had loved as a child. I read Harry Potter, Little Women, Little Men, all of Anne of Green Gables, A Girl of Limberlost, and any book I could find at the library that I remembered from my childhood. Returning, through the dogeared pages of my favorite stories, to a more innocent time gave me hope in the darkness and reminded me of the good in the world.
But it was more than that. Reading these innocent stories about good people living good lives resonated with me more now as an adult than it had as a child. These wholesome books reminded me that we are what we consume. As I read of people doing the right thing, of building good families, of simpler times with stronger morals, I wanted to be more like that. I wanted to live a life that could be called wholesome. I eat healthy because I want my body to feel healthy. These books reminded me that I needed to treat my brain with the same respect. If we surround ourselves with goodness aren't we more likely to be good? If we surround ourselves with bad examples aren't we more likely to follow them?
I find that the true magic in these childhood books is not just in their ability to lift me out of despair but their ability to still have influence over me more than a decade after the first time I read the stories shared on their pages.