Hi everyone and welcome! Today, I’m sharing a new series for our initiative to bring books to the children of Karachi, Pakistan. To understand the impact this could have, I think it’s important to reflect back on our own experience with books as children.
I’m honored to have Vivian Kirkfield as a guest on my blog! She’s an amazing author, advocate for children, and the kidlit community. When I asked if she would be part of #Books4KarachiKids, she was immediately on board! Yet another reason why she’s so special!
Vivian, what was your first memory as a child where you connected to a book?
Vivian: I have two early memories that are connected to a book. The first, when I was probably about 3, was sitting on my mother’s lap as she turned the pages of THE LITTLE HOUSE by Virginia Lee Burton. I think with that story, maybe because I was so young, it was the pictures that drew me in – We lived in the projects on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, but every Sunday, we took the train to Brooklyn to visit with my grandmother who lived on a tree-lined street – and so I could relate to how squished the little house felt. I, too, dreamed of having more space. Happily, when I turned 10, we moved to my grandmother’s house ‘in the country’ – and so the story came true in my own life.
I love the image of you being read to by your mother. Reading provides an opportunity for a special moment between a child and their guardian. It’s a chance to share not just a story, but an experience. Another wonderful thing about picture books is how they come to life through the beautiful illustrations, which definitely draws the reader in even more. I’m interested to hear about your second memory!
Vivian: The second early memory of a special book is from my experience having my tonsils removed. Back in the 1950’s, if a child got a sore throat, doctors were quick to operate and remove the tonsils. I must have been 5 years old and was very excited – they’d promised me ice cream when it was all over. Of course, I had to wait for the ice cream, but when my parents came to visit me in the hospital, they brought something even better – a book! It was a Golden Book version of The Three Little Pigs – and I must have read it a dozen times till I was allowed to go home the next day. I loved the story of these three brothers – all so different and all heading out to live on their own. And I loved that the brother who worked hard and put in the time to build a strong house was able to save his brothers and thwart the wolf. I truly believe that book had a big impact on my own work ethic as I grew up.
I think it’s important to highlight how something you read when you were five, impacted your work ethic as an adult. This is the positive power of picture books! You have written many lovely books for children, including From Here to There: Inventions that Changed the Way the World Moves, Sweet Dreams, Sarah, and Pippa’s Passover Plate.
In what ways do you hope your writing will impact the lives of children?
Vivian: Books were such an important part of my life as I was growing up – fairytales, folktales, stories of true heroes and heroines or fantastical ones – they entertained me and educated me, but most importantly, they inspired me. That is what I hope my writing will do for children – and in the end, perhaps ignite that spark of curiosity that will lead them to ask questions, find their passion, and pursue a life of purpose.
Inspiration brings hope, change, and the possibility of something greater. This is what we are trying to do with Books4KarachiKids. We wish for the children to have the opportunity to immerse themselves in various different kinds of picture books. We hope to foster their love for reading, imagining, and discovering. Thank you so much, Vivian, for speaking with me today. Please be sure to check out all of Vivian’s books on her website viviankirkfield.com.
If you would like to be featured in this series, please let me know! Thank you everyone!