On tour with Prism Book Tours.
In celebration of the “Warming Hearts at Walmart” blog tour, I am so pleased to welcome author Carol Ross to the blog today! Her selfies are so cute 🙂 And I love the guest post she wrote on the book that fostered her love for reading!
Richard Scarry, My First Love
I still have my first love. Yes, I’m talking about a book. But not just any book. This is the one that began my life-long, unshakeable and abiding love affair with the written word. (Please see photo below and feel free to comment on its beauty.) The fact that I have it is in itself is a miracle because my mom is not a saver. I have very few items from my childhood. Baby book? First outfit? Lost tooth or lock of hair? Ha. I don’t even know what I looked like as a baby. There are no surviving baby pictures of me. No favored toys turned prized keepsakes withstood my journey to adulthood. To be fair, this might have something to do with the fact that as the youngest of five children many of my toys had been excessively pre-loved by the time they were handed down to me.
But my Richard Scarry Best Story Book Ever was my prized possession. For what seemed like years, it was never far from my side. I memorized the stories as my older sister read them to me and taught me how to read. Then, when I could read them myself… Well, my fellow readers, you understand.
This book gave me so much useful knowledge. Like “What Animals Do” (bears shuffle and roosters strut, in case you were wondering) and that when mixed together red and blue make purple. Soldiers wear tall furry hats in England and Danish girls should curtsy when they meet the Queen. It was also an incredibly useful reference book outlining all the months of the year and the important roles of their accompanying seasons. There were also short stories and nursery rhymes that seemed to be included solely for entertainment. Not surprisingly, these were my favorites.
Looking back on it, it seems obvious why my most-loved story was “Pierre the Bear.” It was about a bear who lived “way up in The North.” To me this place, this “North” could only be Alaska. The mythical cold, exotic, and wild place where my Uncle Mike had lived – and forever disappeared – when I was very young. This fomented childhood dreams of landing a guest spot on the television show Fantasy Island so I could solve the mystery of his disappearance. Now that age and a rough knowledge of geography have changed my perspective, I realize that Pierre was probably of French Canadian descent. (Unintended jingoism I promise. Hopefully, my Canadian friends won’t hold it against me.)
Anyway, clearly fortune was smiling on me in the ensuing years, because this treasured book endured my mom’s regular “junk crackdowns,” four older siblings (plus “foster” relatives) as well as my family’s chaotic move the summer before my sixth grade year. Somehow it survived my parents’ epic downsize in 1989, which is when I took possession. The book then sat cozily, happily, adored and treasured on my shelf for many years. Until My husband and I had a house fire in 2000.
Every single item in our house that didn’t burn, wasn’t waterlogged, or that reeked only terribly of smoke (as opposed to unbearably) was hauled away to be evaluated and, if salvageable, cleaned (via some mysterious osmotic oxygenation-type process only a trained Chemist would understand.) The cleaning service literally took everything – toothpicks, used dryer sheets, random paperclips…
When your possessions are stripped down in this way, you soon discover that there are very few things in life that really matter. When I initially learned of the fire, my only thought was of our fur-baby Salty (our cat) who was the only one home when, rather ironically, a mouse chewed through a wire in the attic and the fire broke out. Salty was fine physically, if a bit traumatized. (The mouse was not so fortunate.)
Through all the tears, damage assessments, and insurance paperwork, my heart ached over the well-being of a select few but treasured items – certain photos, a blanket my late aunt had knitted for me, and my Richard Scarry book. When all was said and done, I did lose a few beloved photos and many things that don’t count. But I still have my beloved Aunt Lois blanket and my Best Story Book Ever.
I’d love to hear about your “first love.” What book fostered your love for print books? Real books printed on paper that you can hold in your hand and smell and flip through the pages. Was it funny or scary? Fat or skinny? Hardcover or paperback? Tell me. I promise I won’t judge.
Carol Ross is the author of three books for the Seasons of Alaska series for the Harlequin Heartwarming line. She lives with her husband and one loveable miscreant of a dachshund in a small town in Washington close to both the ocean and the mountains. For a complete list of her books, giveaways, and other fun stuff stop by and visit her new website: carolrossauthor.com.
Check out these Heartwarming authors’ own selfies…
January 3rd: Launch
January 4th: I Am A Reader – Amy Vastine
January 5th: Mel’s Shelves – Anna J. Stewart
January 6th: deal sharing aunt – Cari Lynn Webb
January 7th: Reading Is My SuperPower – Carol Ross
January 8th: Katie’s Clean Book Collection – Catherine Lanigan
January 10th: Babs Book Bistro – Leigh Riker
January 11th: Love, Laughter, Friendship – Melinda Curtis
January 12th: Heidi Reads… – Pamela Tracy
January 13th: Christian Chick’s Thoughts – Rula Sinara
January 14th: Bookworm Lisa – Tara Taylor Quinn
January 15th: Grand Finale
15 – $10 Walmart Gift Cards
– Rules: To enter, take a selfie at a local Walmart with a Heartwarming book and post publicly on social media (can be your hands, your face, etc. with a Heartwarming book). Can enter once each day with a different picture each time. Those who post the same picture multiple times will be disqualified. Those who only post privately (so that it can’t be viewed publicly) will also be disqualified.
– US Only
– Ends January 20th