Nov 16 2015
Comments Off on A beloved and “wonder”-full children’s book turns 150 years old

A beloved and “wonder”-full children’s book turns 150 years old

Original cover of 1898 edition of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," by Lewis Carroll.

Original cover of 1898 edition of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” by Lewis Carroll.

My love of reading was instilled in me from a very early age. My grandmother gave me books of fairy tales and classics. She tried to find books where a young girl and her adventures were central–which means I was a big and early fan of The Wizard of Oz and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The latter recently turned 150 years old, and that anniversary made me recall lazy days reading on my grandmother’s back porch, trying not to stain the pages from the wild blueberries I’d picked/gorged on before settling into the most comfy lounge chair…

I imagine many of us writers have similar roots. A love of reading often spawns a love of writing. I can’t say that the Alice’s story specifically made me want to be a writer–but it made me want to have adventures, to see things in new ways, and to not let wonder and my ability to be surprised and delighted fade away with age.

‘I could tell you my adventures – beginning from this morning,’ said Alice a little timidly: ‘but it’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.’

I’ve always loved that quote. It rings even more true to me now as an adult remembering my young girl self devouring this mad tale.

Harvard University’s Houghton Library is running an exhibition in honor of Alice and author Lewis Carroll. I highly recommend clicking through it and learning more about the story behind the story. Heather Cole, its curator, says she believes the story has endured over a century and a half because it “captures universal qualities of childhood.”

What do you think?