For this week, Dewey suggested we reflect on a book from our childhood. I could write about any number of books, but here is one that somehow, I haven’t forgotten, although I haven’t read it since third grade.

When I was in third grade, I was very awkward and shy (but who isn’t). Picture a skinny eight-year-old girl with red-haired pigtails and buck teeth. That was me. I sat at my desk and paid attention to my teacher.

One particular day, I wasn’t happy. I had talked back to the fifth-grade teacher on the playground at recess for some reason (I was usually very quiet and well-behaved) and the teacher had made me stand at the wall (which meant I couldn’t play on the playground and had to suffer, standing by a wall, watching everyone else play).

I was guilty. I knew it. I was in tears by the time recess was over and I returned to my third-grade class room. My teacher, Mrs. Gray, obviously could tell I was upset by something, so she took me out in the hall and asked me to calm down. Then, she did something I’ve never forgotten: she got the newest addition to the class library and let me read it first, sitting on the floor outside the door of the third-grade classroom.

It was Two Bad Ants, by Chris Van Allsburg. In this picture book, ants have discovered a special new crystal and they travel to find it in the kitchen. Two ants get away from the group and face all sorts of adventures. It is a perfect picture book: the text follows the perspective of the ants, but the pictures let the reader see that the crystal is sugar and the dark sea is a cup of coffee.

I’ve remembered this book because of the emotions surrounding the reading of it. Reading it helped me feel better. I could go back into the third-grade class room without any tears.

My journal entry for that day (a regular assignment from my teacher):

Sep. 22, 1989
I had a bad day.
I like Mrs. Gray. Today was P.E.

I still find that books help me when I’m feeling down. Isn’t it great that we live in a world of words? Isn’t it great that words can help us deal with life? I love books and I love reading.

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

  1. What a wonderful memory to have, and Mrs. Gray was definitely a great teacher. I love that you’ve kept your journals all these years and share your entries with your readers.

  2. We cannot forget certain books becos of the memories surrounding those times when we read them. I liked your post.

    Childhood Memories

  3. @gautami tripathy–so true…thanks for sharing your post as well!
    @Jill: Yes, I found my journal in a big box of childhood treasures. It’s fun to remember childhood and I’m glad my teacher made me do it.

  4. She sounds like a wonderful teacher. And I can totally understand you remembering the book so well because of the emotions that surround it. I think that’s how we make memories.

  5. Pingback: Weekly Geeks #4 » The Hidden Side of a Leaf

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