By Dayanna Isabel Blandón Caballero – Education career student
S.I. Hayakawa, an American linguist and politician, once said: "It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish." In other words, reading widens our horizons and opens up a world of possibilities that allows us to live someone else's story. Reading makes us enter the scene of a different context, time, and even world. It makes us feel in plenty of ways, sometimes frustrated wanting that the story ends up as we picture it. Sometimes falling in love with a character's personality or making us cry for days. Certainly, while reading we laugh, fantasize, and dream about the stories of plenty of fictional or non-fictional characters that have marked our lives.
Throughout history, stories have been at the heart of connecting people (Harris, 2005). Nevertheless, have you ever wondered why we connect deeply with some stories? According to Karen E. Dill-Shackleford (2009), some books have the power to connect the reader to a whole new experience, to leave their world, and enter the book's world. Thereby, it becomes an astonishing and personal experience that transforms us from the inside to outside in which fantasy becomes reality making us feel part of it. Undoubtedly, some stories have not only changed us individually but have had a big effect on us as a society, like The Little Prince, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, or one of the best pieces ever written in Spanish literature, The Adventures of Don Quixote.
We all remember these stories. The story that allowed us to imagine and play, the story of a thirteen-year-old girl that made us become more humans, or the book that showed us that there is value on people no matter their social standing, worldview, or appearance. We all have read at least one of these books, as kids or adolescents, that has followed us as we grow. These books recall plenty of memories and feelings, and transport us to an exact moment of our lives, either being on our parent’s laps or suffering in a literature exam, but in the end, leading it us to learn, to dream, to imagine, and to believe that anything is possible. As Dr. Seuss, an American children's author said it once: "the more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."
Books teach us invaluable life lessons that we can live and see through the character's lives while feeding our minds and empowering our souls. At one end, The Little Prince taught us the importance of having enriching relationships to live for actions, not good intentions, and to see with the heart as he said: "but the eyes are blind. One must look with the heart.” (Saint-Exupéry, 2000). For its part, Anne Frank taught us a lot of life-changing lessons as having the courage to believe in yourself, your dreams and to never give up on you, and always seeing the bright side even in the darkest moments, as she promised: “Where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again." (Frank, 2003). Eventually, Don Quixote taught us valuable lessons that modern leaders can take advantage of (Lui, 2019), in addition to teaching us ideals like liberty, force, beauty, and modesty. At the end of the day, life lessons are gifts that help us to become better, and having them wrapped as books have the power to influence our lives.