Question of the Day

Do you still have any items from your childhood that are very meaningful to you?

I have a few things here and there I've held onto, toys and games and collectibles, but probably the things I still have that mean the most to me are a handful of books that I loved as a child. My most treasured book is an old copy of Beautiful Joe, literally held together with brittle tape, which was my mother's when she was a little girl, then passed on to me.

Beautiful Joe is based on a true story of an abused and rescued dog, and was written by Marshall Saunders—actually Margaret Marshall Saunders, who entered (and won) a literary contest sponsored by the American Humane and Educational Society under her middle name because female authors weren't getting published. It was first published in 1893; my tattered copy, which I read and reread and reread as a child, is a 1955 edition.

My first memory of really loving a book is loving Beautiful Joe—and it's no exaggeration to say that the book was a significant influence on my life; I owe a great deal of my capacity for empathy to Joe's tale.

You can read it here, if you are so inclined.

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