You're the Voice: Introducing Sara and celebrating simplicity
We all know I love meeting new people, especially when those people love books! So I am very excited to introduce the first Voice of 2013 - Sara! (Seriously - I'm doing this right now.)...
Hello fellow Inkyites, readers, writers, insideadog team, and Inky of course. To introduce myself as briefly as possible, my name is Sara, I’m seventeen years young, I’m in my final year of school at Lyndale Secondary College, and I’m an art-appreciating, animal-loving, book-reading, wanderlust, head-in-the-clouds kind of girl. It’s a pleasure to meet you all.
A few weeks ago as my aunty and I left a bookshop, I asked her what her favourite children’s book was. She replied Oscar Wilde’s fairytales and admitted to reading them to me when I was a child, brainwashing me early on to have good taste in literature (I’m lucky to have her). But this got me thinking about the many children’s books I still love to this day - Dr Suess, Roald Dahl, anyone? And I wondered, why is it that I still love these books?
A random tangent for a moment; sometimes, I think simplicity is one of the most beautiful things in life. Life is all about simplicity, goes the quote, we make it complicated (with statements such as “a very fulsome of heart”).
I remember when I saw the packaging for the iPhone and thought, forget the phone - this box is amazing. Yeah, you laugh, but have you seen it? It is so simple, sleek, plain, yet beautiful.
Okay, you say, how does this relate to children’s books? I promise, I’m getting there.
I’ve come to have great respect for authors who state the most profound things in life with such simplicity. They have my immediate respect and awe, because they find something so complicated and impossible, and they express it in words a child can understand.
Two authors come to mind immediately.
The first is Antoine de Saint Exupery. (I’m proud to say I can finally spell his name right without Google). If it doesn’t ring any bells yet, then I shall add that he’s the author of The Little Prince. The little novella may look like it’s aimed at children, but I plead with you not to make that mistake; that book has such wisdom in it that everyone can learn something.
The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.
Everyone say awwww.
It’s touching in a way that’s not schmaltzy and corny, and there’s this sad tinge to it that melts my heart every time as the little prince desperately searches for a companion amid a flawed humanity. The stories strum on heart strings with the easy, poetic nature; the deep storytelling; the endearing characters; the philosophical undertone.
In The Fault in Our Stars John Green says 'Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.' There aren’t many books I recommend to everyone, because it all depends on what appeals to you, but The Little Prince is one of the few that I feel can earn a place in the hearts of thousands.
I’ve read The Little Prince twice. First when I was eight(ish) and my aunty (bless her) issued it to me with the demand that I finish it before she return from her holiday. Yes ma’am. Mission accepted and accomplished. *puts on FBI glasses and melts into the shadows*
At the end of last year I stumbled across the book again and read it in an hour. And that’s probably when it struck me- this book is filled with the most profound statements stated in such simplicity that it borders on genius.
Not too long after, I found another such author - A.A. Milne. That’s right, the author of Winnie the Pooh. I’d watched the show as a child, but I never thought about the book until I stumbled across statements like these across the internet:
Piglet: “How do you spell 'love'?"
Pooh: "You don't spell it. You feel it."
Now tell me that quote didn’t make your eyebrows crease and heart melt??
How do they do that? I haven’t figured out the answer yet, but I feel that these simple statements that speak such wisdom are remarkable. And perhaps overlooked at times.
There are many children’s books (among the building list of YA books) that still live in my heart for various reasons, and I could speak warmly about each of them for hours. Yet some of them I want to hand out to every person I know and come across, just so we can all share the beauty of such simple genius.
Every time I think of these books, I get that goofy smile on my face and I feel my soul glow with that warm, fuzzy feeling we all love. I’m reminded of the quote on the jacket of The Little Prince that goes 'There are a few stories which in some way, in some degree, change the world forever for their readers. This is one.'
I raise my glass in toast to these authors who achieve genius in their simplicity. They are the overlooked masters of writing. For lack of a better word, I say simply, ‘Cheers’.
So now it’s your turn; what are the books that have touched your heart and changed your world?