Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2012 8:33:12 PM
As a Chinese girl five years of age arriving in the United States with no knowledge of the English language, I could’ve easily been lost in the array of letters found in the colorfully illustrated books offered to me. Learning to read is an ability that comes easily to some, and I am lucky that this skill for me blossomed at a young age. The first book I remember reading is "Green Eggs and Ham" by Theodore Geisel, a children’s author more commonly known by the quirky moniker Dr. Seuss. But in the moment I picked up the orange book, I could not have known that it was just the beginning of my journey into a new and magnificent world of written words.
Learning to read the book was like deciphering a cryptogram, a wondrous, curious progression that caused my enthusiasm to flourish with each word my mouth formed. I loved the way the rhymes slipped between my lips, and I eagerly craved the taste of the words on my tongue. After some time, I had memorized the entire book from front to back, the words imprinted clearly on my mind as I proudly recited the litany of Sam I Am and his eventual agreement to try the strange green eggs and ham. At such young of an age, I had not known that one simple, wacky story could possibly lead me to even greater adventures.
In a way, Sam’s ultimate discovery that green eggs and ham aren't so terrible but in fact very palatable, reflects my voyage across a sea of letters in which I was frequently besieged by difficult pronunciations, pressing on until I had reached the end of a story and was filled to the brim with the marvel of words. My journey did not stop at Dr. Seuss—I moved on to explore the rest of the magical realm of written stories, bringing home more than a dozen books from the public library each week. I dwelled vicariously in the lives of mischievous siblings, fantastical creatures, and valiant wizards, finding a comforting solace in various characters and an escape from reality that was welcomed by my imaginative mind.
Nearly twelve years later, I have realized that I am a fervent writer today because I became an avid reader all those years ago. Even after all this time, the beauty and miracle of words have never left me, and I still find myself amazed by how the stories that I read and write affect me so strongly. Although I have not held a copy of "Green Eggs and Ham" for quite some time, I feel as if I can trace my past back to the moment when I first realized my love for words in a silly children’s story. Since then, I have resolutely fought my way through the thorny thickets of scrambled letters and emerged to find a paradise of unforgettably breathtaking stories.