Pulitzer Prize winning author Timothy Egan was the featured speaker for the "Spokane is Reading" event sponsored by the Spokane Public Library and the Spokane County Library District. The author of the current best seller "The Big Burn" took time to talk about his favorite book when he was growing up in Spokane.
"My earliest memories growing up are of books," he remembers. "My mother introduced books into our household when we were just little kids. The first book I really remember being read to me and reading to myself when I learned to read at five and six was Curious George- the wonderful adventure series about this rather curious little monkey."
Egan connected with Curious George on a kid-to-kid level.
"For a little kid, George just seemed like another four or five year old. He didn't seem like a monkey- he seemed like another little kid to me."
Egan recognizes that the books in his home helped point him to his future career. "I probably would not have become a writer had not my parents introduced books to me at such a young age. I realized the magic and power of the written word."
Looking back, he remembers how a book could transport him anywhere, especially on a snowy mid-winter day growing up in Spokane. "The greatest thing a kid has going for him is imagination, and there's nothing like a book to open your world up to the imagined world."
And Curious George? He reappeared in Egan's life after he became a father.
"It was wonderful in my own life that I could read it to my own kids – and the George series were probably some of the first books they heard as well."
Egan made sure to pass along the habit of reading to his children.
"You start this habit early on- a wonderful habit that stays with you for a lifetime."