Books hold a lot of power. If it’s a fantasy book, it evokes your imagination. If it’s a nonfiction book or a book based on a true story, it changes your perspective on things, or you just learn new things. They also take control over your emotions, whether it’s a small moment in the book or the whole book entirely.
Many books have brought forth my imaginations, taught me things, changed my perspective on things, and took control of my emotions. It happens to the best of us. Besides, we read books for the thrill of being on a roller coaster of emotions, learning new things, and induce our imagination.
Most fiction books call up imagination because they most likely require you to form a picture in your head of the events happening to follow the plot truly. Still, imagination is a classic fantasy book speciality.
I read a fantasy book around five years ago called The Land Of Stories by Chris Colfer that required me to imagine the faces of a lot of characters and the settings of a lot of events. The Land Of Stories is a book about twins who magically fall into a book made out of a collection of the world’s most known fairy tales such as Cinderella, Jack and The Beanstalk, and Little Red Riding Hood.
The characters in these fairytales, and even the fairytales altogether, are well-known worldwide, and there are many copies of the same story. Still, each one is a little different, just like each illustration of the characters and settings are different. So, even if we have the character and setting description, each person’s interpretation of that description is different.
In this case, imagining the face of someone you haven’t seen because they don’t exist is challenging. Try it! Try to make up a random person in your head. It’s like improv imagination.
You think of what kind of hair or eyes your ‘person’ is supposed to have on the spot. But, no matter how much you try, your finishing result will be someone you know or know of. It could be someone from your family, a celebrity, or just a random person you saw at the store yesterday. You will end up with someone that you’ve seen before.
Try imagining a person and when you have your finished result, think to yourself, “Does this person look familiar?” And the answer will always be yes. It’s the same with colors too, and you can’t think of color because it already exists. For example, we know Cinderella as the beautiful blond Caucasian female, but that’s it. It is then our job to form a face, a body, a person with that description. Whenever someone mentions Cinderella or Goldilocks, the immediate pictures that reappear in my head are the people I created while reading The Land Of Stories.
With nonfiction books, though, I never really liked them because I thought there was only one type of them; boring. I only read them for school, and if it came down to it, I would pick fiction, no questions asked until I found The Journal by Lois Donovan about four years ago.
The Journal is about a girl who lives on Whyte Ave and, in a fiction/fantasy kind of way, learns her family’s history, which is also the history of Edmonton in a way and a little bit of history about the “Famous Five.” The Journal changed my perspective in two ways.
The first being how I saw nonfiction books. I realized that not all of them go on and on about only facts. The book also helped me know that a lot of the books that I’ve already read were also nonfiction in a way. The Wolf Princess by Cathryn Constable focused a lot on Russian culture and taught me more than a book titled Russian Culture itself would. The Alchemist showed the life of an Andalusian shepherd boy and made me see the world through the eyes of a poor boy with big hopes and dreams.
The second way, The Journal has changed my perspective is how I look at Edmonton and its residents. In the book, the main character, Kami, magically travels back in time, ends up in Edmonton of 1929, and meets her ancestors. In the 1929 version of Edmonton, Kami faces a tremendous amount of Asian hate all around her. Almost 100 years later, Asian people are still facing this kind of racism. So has nothing changed in 92 years of development? Is Edmonton in 1929 still Edmonton in 2021 in terms of racism?
Reading that book, specifically the Asian discrimination parts, made me feel a bit mad. Still, lots of moments in books have made me feel sad, happy, angry, or envious of a character(s), but only two have stood out to me, and I’m pretty sure that I will never forget them.
The first one is a moment from The Wolf Princess that, to this day, sticks out to me out of every other moment in books that have made me feel a particular emotion.
In The Wolf Princess, the main character, Sophie, goes to meet a princess from Russia with her two friends, Delphine and Marianne. When they get to her castle, her butler gives them fancy sarafans(Russian jumper dresses) to meet the princess inside. Marianne’s sarafan was alright (according to Sophie), Delphine’s sarafan was pretty, but Sophie’s sarafan was jaw-dropping gorgeous. Delphine asked if she could try Sophie’s sarafan, and Sophie gave it to her. Then, when the butler came to escort them to the princess, she said, “Only the thing is, there’s no time to change, Sophie. Sorry.”
This boiled my blood. It wasn’t a big deal at all, and even Sophie was OK with it, but it just hit me from such a weird angle, which got me mad at Delphine. Not to be dramatic or anything, but I did chuck the book in my closet, and the front page is a little ripped. I guess I was just really excited for dull old Sophie to look exceptional in front of a princess so that she could show, to at least someone, that she is not dull; she’s unique, she has something special in her.
The second one is a book called Ida B by Katherine Hannigan. Although it has won four awards, this book isn’t super unique or well known(although it has won four awards) like the Harry Potter Series or the Percy Jackson Series. If someone were to look at the front page or read the blurb, it would seem like just another children’s novel. I picked it out of the library because I was encouraged to read it by my school librarian. She was such a sweet woman that I couldn’t say no, and thank god I didn’t.
When I finished the book, I didn’t know what I was feeling. Was I sad that Ida B’s mother got cancer? Was I angry that when she had to transfer from homeschooling to school, she felt like she was getting bullied and left out? Was I happy that it all turned out well for her?
It turned out that I was feeling all three of those feelings at the same time. That’s why the book felt so different after I finished it.
I didn’t know why at the time, but I did know that Ida B would be my favorite book no matter how good ‘Number The Stars’ by Lois Lowry was.
Writer is a 9th grader student and lives in Canada.