Friday, August 14, 2009

Author Spotlight: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

As I make preparations for the new school year, I am reminded of the first book my father gave me, The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery. I must have read this book at least 5 times so far throughout my young life. It is one of those books that, depending on your stage in life, the meaning becomes more and more powerful. As a child, it was just a cute story. But, as I grew up, it's meaning became more and more pertinent. This book is written for children ages 9-12, but the meaning it conveys is ageless. In it, a stranded prince from a far away planet recounts his journey to a pilot stranded in the Sahara desert. The boy begins by asking the adult to draw different animals. The boy's perception of these drawings is vastly different compared to that of the adult and, thus, the fable depicts adults and their fixations with the most mundane activities as perceived by a child.

This book is a good reminder that sometimes as adults we need to revert back to childhood, forget about the worries of day-to-day life, and just enjoy the simplest of pleasures. For the Little Prince, this was his beautiful rose that he so missed on his home planet. For us, that rose symbolizes so much more that we take for granted on a daily basis. He had a hard time understanding the adults on the other planets and why their lives were consumed by meaningless routine. It is so easy as an adult to get caught up with our own work routine that I am reminded to enjoy each day as this new school year begins. I am reminded that all I have to do is look to my students to remember how easy it was to live everyday without a care in the world.

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