As parents, teachers and educators, we have the mission of leading the souls of children toward the Light which will be the path of their life and their happiness. Each week, we will offer you the discovery of a few words coming from guides and witnesses, to enlighten our route. Happy reading!
“Dwarves, we can perch on the shoulders of giants: that is our privilege as readers.”
Tzevtan TODOROV (1802-1874)
“I was born as far removed from all literature as is possible. In the house where I grew up there was hardly a newspaper, let alone a book. My father loved to talk but he didn’t like to read, and the news he got from his friends. My mother, always at her “machine” or at the stove, hadn’t any time to lose, and no one around us, neither our parents nor our neighbors, was even able to conceive what a book might be. Before my fourteenth year I never read except for utility’s sake in order to learn my catechisme or my lessons. I will die without ever knowing Mme de Ségur, and I was a man before I ever heard of The Three Musketeers and all the other novels of Alexandre Dumas which acted as a reservoir of dreams for so many people. By then it was no longer the right time to read these, and I would never find that reservoir. I often sensed what a loss it was to have only read them freely, for the dream and the delight, so late in life. When I turned fourteen and was free to enter the library in our town, the first Sunday after my birthday I entered it as if it were a temple, and since then I’ve never ceased to love books passionately. However, the old bigoted man who kept the library watched over the books as if they were all sorts of demons ready to bewitch his town, and he only permitted me to take Mayne Reid, Fenimore Cooper, or Jules Verne. I devoured them, but for years after, with no one to guide me, I still only read books that were useful, and even though this solitary and autodidactic work surely gives one the joy of exploration and discovery, you miss so much. Even after having become a professor and having diffused knowledge to others, I know that I will always have something lacking: all that is related to the deep-rooted acquaintance of culture and tradition, all that we learn, who knows how, by a sort of contagion, by conversations and comrades — in a word, this grace and elegance of the mind which can perhaps only be acquired by reading for pleasure.”
Jean GUEHENNO (1890-1978)
Writer and Literary Critic
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