Before I could even read, I toured Louisa May Alcott's home and the land where Thoreau's cabin was situated on Walden Pond. Every day on the way in to town, we'd travel a route that would take us past the home of Ralph Waldo Emerson and later, Nathaniel Hawthorne.
I've always had a strong connection to these great American writers, simply by virtue of the fact that I came in to the world in that exact locale and tread upon the very same ground as each of them. And considering my family has a plot at Sleepy Hollow, there's a distinct possibility I may be laid to eternal rest just a hill or two away from my Concordian peeps.
Our fourth child is named Henry David. We chose his name not just because Henry and David are two family names that Charlie and I both love; nor did we chose his name because we savor O'Henry bars. Although those things did factor in to the equation, our son's name was mostly chosen as a tribute to my hometown and one of my all-time favorite writers ... Henry David Thoreau.
In recent months, I have found great inspiration and solace in the words of Thoreau. The intellectual part of me really wishes that I could tell you that I've been devouring deep, insightful books like, "Civil Disobedience" and "Walden" but alas, I only have the mental capacity for children's books - like those of D.B. Johnson who has beautifully adapted Thoreau's writings in to terms that the young (and severely time-limited adults) can grasp and appreciate.
Here's where I'd like to link all of these books to my Amazon library for posterity, but I've lost track of my affiliates account, and until such time that I'm able to recall: 1) Which e-mail account I used to set it up and 2) My password ... I'll just link to DB Johnson on Amazon here.
D.B. Johnson = WOW.
A few years ago, Kathleen (Charlie's father's wife and reader of great books), sent our little Henry all of the books within the Henry's series as a gift. And although I thanked Kathleen for those books when she sent them, let me take this opportunity to thank her for them again, now.
These are quite possibly my most treasured books in our children's library.
I will reach for them whenever I can because the stories are so pure - so true - so thoughtful - so inspiring. And they are thought-provoking, even for our young children. I have read almost all of them to our Girl Scout (and Boy Scout) troops during meetings and have asked them to think about the "message."
What are the really important things in life?
Well, they aren't actually "things."
Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called "comforts" of life are not only indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.
Preach it, HD!
If you're looking for a gift for someone (young or old), I would recommend one of these books. If you take a visit to a library, check one out and tell me what you think.
My favorites are "Henry Hikes to Fitchburg" and "Henry Works."
Although I also really love "Henry Climbs a Mountain" and "Henry Builds a Cabin."
And "Henry's Night" is just spectacular.
OK, OK. So I love them all.
I think you will, too.