This I Believe

Sasha - West Bend, Wisconsin
Entered on November 14, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe in the influence of written literature and the power of words on paper.

Books have been a part of my life since I was an infant. At the age of two, my mother would read to me every night before bed. Already by the age of five I had learned to read by myself. My favorite book in preschool was “The Little Train That Could.” I loved reading along to the train rhythm, “I think I can, I think I can. I know I can, I know I can.”

As I grew, my mom continued reading to me, taking me to the library often so we could replenish our supply of nighttime adventures. Each time we went, we would leave with stacks of books so big we could hardly carry them to the car. The library, with its quiet atmosphere, quickly became my favorite place; the enticing secrets of thousands of books constantly calling to me.

Books illustrated life’s lessons; they were my teachers. Maniac Magee taught me about heroes, loss, and love between different races. The View From Saturday told me not to judge, because everyone’s life story is different. From Holes I learned that friendship and perseverance can overcome troubles in life.

During my grade school years, whenever I had free time, my nose would be buried in the pages of my latest novel. My mom often reprimanded me for reading the same books over and over. “Haven’t you read that one already?” she would ask. “Why don’t you ever read something new?” So I took her advice, began to read new adventures, and expanded my knowledge even more.

My love of books became a tremendous advantage as I moved on to high school. I rarely had to study for vocabulary quizzes. Reading had exposed me to so many different types of literature that I knew a plethora of words. Even my friends would often say, “Could you repeat that in English please?”

My books were also a fantastic help when I learned how to write my own papers and essays. I seldom worried about incorrect grammar or spelling because my first experiences with writing had come from professional authors.

Writing provides me with yet another chance to expand my knowledge. I have discovered so much about history from the ever-despised research papers I have been assigned. I even learned more about myself from a personal essay I had to write last year.

The more I write, the more I become conscious of how powerful words can really be. I can use persuasive words to change a reader’s personal opinion; I can use emotional words to manipulate his feelings. I’ve found I can influence a person’s life—touch their thoughts and emotions—simply by putting words on paper.

Written words are my teachers, my tools, my life. Without them I would be powerless.