Are You My Mother?

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“Are you my mother?” It was these four words that first piqued my interest in reading. Among the dozens of Berenstain Bears or Dr. Seuss books that fascinated me as a young child, P.D. Eastman’s Are You My Mother? easily could have been my favorite. It seemed as if my parents read this story to me every night, though I’m sure that’s a slight exaggeration. I do know that there is no doubt in my mind that this tale of a baby bird that travels the neighborhood in search of his mother, after falling out of his nest, almost single-handedly sparked my interest in reading. By the time I was four years old, I was devouring books that someone my age wasn’t supposed to “be ready for,” and by second grade I had already completed the first book in the Harry Potter series.

Still, nothing in my memory stands out as much as Are You My Mother?, which never seemed to bore me, even after I had heard the story countless times. On each occasion that it was read to me I would anxiously wonder whether the bird would locate his mom, and I would genuinely be relieved when they eventually did reunite. There was something about their closeness that made me feel as if all was right with the world.

I believe that this book taught me the importance of having close relationships within a family. I know that I didn’t necessarily have those exact thoughts back then, but I do recall being worried when the poor, little bird traveled around town and asked various creatures if they were his mother. I remember feeling sad by their universal response of “I am not your mother,” and was dismayed by their lack of concern. The tiny bird did not give up, however, and in the end found the parent who had left him in order to find a worm for her son’s dinner.

Whenever we came to that comforting conclusion, I recall looking up at my parents and feeling just a little more secure… not to mention eager to start the next book!





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