Thursday, May 22, 2008

My first copy of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was a borrowed one. It was a faded blue hard cover purchased in the 50s from my favorite cousin Maggie. She told me it was her favorite book and she thought that I would love it. At 10 years old, there could be no better gift, from no better person. I absolutely devoured books, I would completely lose myself in them for hours at a time--in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn I found myself.

My Mom picked up this book for the first time a few months ago and encouraged me to revisit it. And it was amazing. I could totally remember reading it as a kid...and could remember feeling my heart soar as I read about a little girl so much like me. I was a solo kid, lost in my own imagination and in the pages of my books, a nerd, a tom-boy. It all sounds so typical now, but I didn't know that then.

Until I met Francie Nolan the narrator of A Tree Grows...reading this again, I realized how many of my dreams and inspirations were rooted in Francie, what a friend she was, if you can find a friend in the pages of a book. Francie inspired me to try and read every book in the library. That it was normal to worship the library. She taught me to always find the positive, that negativity was just a waste of time. Just like me, she wanted to be a writer when she grew up.

I needed to remember a lot of the things I learned so long ago in this book...

But this isn't just a book for kids--it's a lovingly crafted book about family, a portrait of Brooklyn and first generation Americans. It's about people and the way they choose to live in the world. It's about hope and strength. check it.

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