The power of a children’s book


When I was very young starting out in kindergarten and first grade, I hated school. I struggled to make friends and get used to a new routine. When the lessons really started taking off, I found myself falling behind my classmates.

I may have hated school, but I loved sports. I loved, even at that young age, the ups-and-downs of baseball or football. I loved the story-telling nature of the sports world.

So when one day I found a bright yellow hardcover board book with a kid in football gear not much older than me on the cover, I fell in love. The book titled Davy Plays Football told the story of a little boy who had to fight to get a chance to play with the big kids in his neighborhood and in the end catches the winning touchdown.

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I read the book every night. It was a short read, but I would read and re-read it until I fell asleep. I loved that Davy was small like me, but played a crucial part in winning the game. When it came time for my turn for show-and-tell, I took the book to school and read it to my friends. In my mind, I was Davy, fighting for my chance with the big kids.

The makings of something bigger

I’m not sure what clicked, but I figured out that if I loved this book, I might find another book that I loved just as much. I soon started to pick up more and more books. They usually had a sports theme, but it still got me reading.

I went through books faster than my mother could get me to the library. I still struggled with math and science, but I was rarely without a book. Several years later, I stumbled across the Danny Dunn series.

These were thicker books than Davy Plays Football and many of my sports-themed books and Danny didn’t play a lot of football or baseball. Instead, he was a precocious and headstrong kid, who routinely got himself into and out of trouble. In short, he was nothing like me.

But I loved how he used his mind. I loved the book titles too with names like Danny Dunny and the Heat Ray; Danny Dunn and the Fossil Cave; Danny Dunn and the Voice from Space to name a few.img_2745

Danny helped open up a whole new world of science and math. It took work, but my grades in these classes started to improve. From those early beginnings, I would go on to have a deeper appreciation for math and science even went onto to take Physics and Calculus my senior year of high school.

Now to the present

I haven’t turned the pages to “Davy” or even one of the “Danny Dunn” books in decades but I got to thinking about both recently thanks to my daughter.  She’s collecting books for a book drive sponsored by Catholic Charities and an organization on her college campus for Middle East refugees trying to learn English.

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She put up signs outside our church and we’ve been loading countless cartons from our church to our car to our garage. I’ve had a ball going through each box looking through the endless copies of Dr. Seuss, Winnie the Pooh, Sponge Bob, and countless other books.

I’ve long went separate ways with the Davy Plays Football book, but I couldn’t help but laugh putting my Danny Dunn series in one of my daughter’s boxes. I’ve developed a lifelong love of books thanks to Davy, Danny, and the countless other books I’ve read over the years.

With that I said a short prayer that whoever finds the book series will get as much enjoyment from it as I did.

 

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