One of my favorite books when I was growing up was The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. In it, I met Milo, a young boy who spends his days in perpetual boredom. He has no interest in anything at all and thinks everything, particularly learning, a waste of time. There is nothing he wants to do, nowhere he wants to go, and nothing worth seeing.
Then he comes home from school one day and finds a huge package in his room — a magical tollbooth complete with a car, directions, and a map. The tollbooth transports him to a wondrous world of strange places, stranger creatures, and eccentric people, who challenge him to think and feel and experience life in all its glory. He realizes that it’s the journey that’s important, not just the destination. He learns many things about himself and discovers that even he can be a hero, when he rescues the Princesses Rhyme and Reason from the Castle in the Air.
I love this book, not just because I get to travel vicariously to a fantastical world, but because reading about Milo reminds me to engage in life and take in everything around me, and to never, ever take anything for granted.
© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2015. All rights reserved.