Literacy in Action (LIA) is a not-for-profit organization located in the Eastern Townships of Quebec where I live. I have had a great partnership with LIA, first creating the organization’s First 25 Years Bulletin with Director Kathy Richan, then the first draft of a Strategic Plan; I contributed to the Clear Writing Manual and I also got to design a health literacy bookmark for them. Needless to say, it has been a lovely relationship and I was thrilled when Kathy asked me to be her first interview as part of the Life-long Learner Series. You can read our interview Here.
I have loved books since I was a little girl and remember vividly curling up on the wooden fire escape at my grandfather’s cottage lost in the glorious pages of The Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter. Elnora Comstock was my hero and sitting with her on hot summer days, as she collected moths to fill her loneliness, created a summer friendship I have not forgotten. Elnora faced her life struggles with hope and benefited from the kindness of others. She helped me navigate the lonely days of my own adolescence.
I cherish the moments when I lose myself in a book. Books are magic and transformative and you know it is a great book, if when you close the last page the characters linger in your heart. You miss them and hope that new friends will come soon to take their place.
My grandfather was a voracious reader and it was he or my grandmother that perhaps gave me The Girl of the Limberlost to read that summer. When our Grandfather had his 80th birthday, my sisters and I composed a a limerick for him. Twin Brooks was the name of his property which was bordered on the left and right by… you guessed it… babbling brooks.
Our Gramps, who lives at Twin Brooks,
is always giving us books.
He says we must read,
our minds we must feed,
one can never get by on good looks.
Years later, I found a copy of the book in a used bookstore and bought it. And the bookstore owner, Janice, found and sent me a book called The Moths of the Limberlost, also by Stratton-Porter. It was filled with beautiful watercolor and photographic images of all the moths Elnora had collected. I have both books on my shelf still. Both books are included in the Project Gutenberg collection as free downloads if any of you would like to read them.