By Maggie Dempewolf
Never would I have thought, at the young age of 10, that picking up “The Tale of Despereaux“ from the school library in the fifth grade would change me for the better. Looking back on it now, at the age of 18 with an expansive collection of books, I am so glad that my younger self chose to do what she did. So here is the telling of how one book changed everything for me, and how it added some newly found light into a world that I found somewhat dark at a young age. In the wise words of the author Kate DiCamillo, “The world is dark, and light is precious. Come closer, dear reader. You must trust me. I am telling you a story.”
I still remember the first time I read this story. How much wonder, curiosity, and joy it gave me. I also still remember how Ms. Erdmans would chuckle at me with a warm smile after I had checked that book out for the sixth or seventh time. When I first read this book I thought how interesting it was that this little mouse could talk and have such large ears. This mouse then goes on to find himself in love with the princess, who is sad because of how dark the kingdom had become.
So fast forward to now, and it has led up to years and years worth of a giant collection of books. These books have become a part of me. I have found myself within the pages, and I have ultimately come to find that I use these books not just as a way to be happy, but more as a means of escape. This world can be a cruel and dark place. These books have given me a means to forget about all the hustle and bustle of daily life. It is so nice to come home and dive into a whole different world, one that may be less chaotic than my own on a particular day of the week.
I know that because of “The Tale Of Despereaux,” I will continue to read for the rest of my life, and continue to grow my book collection. I truly believe that books, especially this one, will always be my form of escape and a great vessel of happiness for me. I don’t honestly know what I would have done if my younger self would never have picked up this book. I encourage anyone and everyone to try and read this book, as it is really amazing for all ages. Once again, in the wise words of Kate DiCamillo, “Stories are light. Light is so precious in a world so dark.”
Maggie Dempewolf is a student at Fillmore Central High School, and one of 13 area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its 25th year.