My Story - Your Story

July 19, 2012

All of my happy childhood memories are associated with my grandmother Lena. She provided a contrast to all of my bad experiences. She was a short and round woman with a big belly that bounced up and down when she laughed. I found that terribly endearing.

Grandma had many gifts; she sang, wrote poetry, drew pictures, sewed, crocheted, cooked amazing meals, and filled every inch of her ½-acre-lot with vegetables and flowers. Her creativity helped to keep her four children alive during the 1947 famine in the Ukraine. She had three years of school: just enough to learn reading, writing, and simple arithmetic.

We didn’t even have a phone, so our main mode of communication was letter-writing. Once, at the end of a letter, she drew two hands united by a hand-shake. In my reply, I reproduced that picture (after a lot of practice). It became our symbol, and replaced the signatures. That was my first introduction to art.

My grandma had lived undiscovered and unappreciated. Her influence did not go beyond the radius of her family. I often wonder what she might have become had she an opportunity for an education and self-discovery. But she had never even read a book.

We are so blessed to have access to information and learning. Our Library has every kind of material to help our children with self-discovery, social and moral values, and the future choices in life. In my experience as a mother and educator, I found biographies a very important tool for the achievement of these objectives. By reading someone else’s life story, a child may relate to Albert Einstein, who learned to speak and read very late; Leonardo da Vinci and Pablo Picasso, who reportedly had dyslexia and ADD; Winston Churchill, who had a speech impediment and did poorly in school; or Leo Tolstoy, who was labeled "unable to learn." Also, by reading about someone else, a person becomes an observer and a judge for the subject’s actions. Criticizing or approving forces us to evaluate our own values and behaviors. By selecting a wide range of biographies, we can also help our children to find their life’s calling, be it science, art, literature, medicine, etc.

In addition to biography books and videos, MCPL has biography links in Research Databases, which covers over a million biographies. Do you have time?  Please take a look.

Nellie E.
Lone Jack Branch

Tags: online resources, databases, biographies


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