November 09, 2012

A Storybook Life - Shirley S. Tye

As soon as I learned to read, I was swept into that other world where I’m an observer yet feeling every emotion the characters experience; walking beside them; cheering them on; warning them of danger.

It all began with the simple stories of Dick and Jane.  I was so excited to be able to make sense of the strange markings on the pages called letters. 

One of my favourite storybooks was about an infant who ventured out into the front yard and discovered the softness of the green grass, the fragrance of the flowers, bees buzzing, butterflies dancing in the air and the comforting warmth of the sun.  It was a perfect world of peace, beauty, discovery and freedom.  While reading the story, I felt happy and could feel Baby’s excitement in the adventure of learning and experiencing new things.  But when I got to the end, I felt sad.  I longed to have the same comfortable life Baby enjoyed.  Yet I knew Baby’s life was fiction and my life was real.  I read the book many times and always felt the same emotions. Perhaps without realizing it at the time, I was using the book as emotional therapy; to lift my spirit.

I don’t have that book now but I often think about it.  The story had a good but simple lesson which I didn’t catch as a child.  Instead, I read the book with longing for a life without sorrow, without fear, without worry; a storybook life.  But now I see the lesson it held.  It reminds me to stop and look around; see, touch, draw in God’s wonderful fragrance.  He is here; there’s nothing to fear.  No doubt about it, life is the pits sometimes but there is still much that is good and beautiful. My life isn’t a storybook but God is in it and that makes all the difference.


  1. Thanks for sharing, Shirley. I too remember the wonder I felt when I learned to read - I wanted to share stories with everyone I met! You also reminded us as writers about the ministry we can have to our readers - something of which we always need to be cognizant!

  2. It seems that most of us that still enjoy reading as adults loved reading as kids too. It worries me that less kids read for pleasure these days. Other options (like gaming) are so prevalent and accessible that fewer and fewer are reading in their free time.

  3. Your words reminded me of my own reading adventures, Shirley. I remember Dick and Jane stories. They were tedious in so many ways, but the unintended effect was that I ploughed through them so I could gain the skills to read more interesting books ;-)

  4. Hi Shirley:

    I have great admiration for those like your childbook author who can find that beauty in the simple things of creation.

    It's a wonderful thing that the peace and tranquility that those experiences bring are available to us in reality through our faith.

    Thanks for your insights.


  5. Oh, Shirley, I can so relate to those feelings that you had, those amazing euphoric feelings of being lost in another world. I have no doubt that God orchestrates those books and stories and feelings as one of the ways he brings joy to us in certain moments of our days. Thanks for the beautiful images you put in my mind!

  6. I was excited to find brand new Dick and Jane board books in our Dollar store. I had to buy them to have on my shelf. I still write book reports to keep for reference. Every author should have that picture in mind, of readers who are captured by the story.


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