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Ferdinand the Bull


When my father was a chemistry teacher in the Yonkers public school system, he used to tell his students that books are better than movies because, “with a book you are the director, editor, casting director, costume designer, special effects artist, grip, gaffer, and catering person.” (Okay, I threw those last three in just to be cheeky, but you get my drift.)

This quote of my dad’s is notable for three reasons:

1. What was a chemistry teacher doing pimping books? I’m sure the English teachers appreciated it, but seriously, what was the deal?
2. This was exactly the kind of thing high school teachers were always saying to high school students that would cause those students to roll their eyes.
3. He was right. Books rule.

As much as Dad loved books, any discussion of books that influenced my life starts with the woman pictured here. She was our maid. Just kidding, that’s my mom. (Though I guess she was the maid, too.) She read to me from the earliest age and infused in me a love of words. She was always trying to sell short stories to different magazines. (Kids, magazines are blogs that were printed on paper. Weird, right?) I was inspired by it. Thanks mom!

Ferdinand is my first distinct memory of a book. If you’ve never read Ferdinand (SPOILER ALERT), it’s the story of big strong bull who wants only to sit beneath his favorite tree and smell the flowers. My mom read this book to me almost every night, and I blame the experience for turning me into the sorry excuse for a man I am today. Thanks Mom.