Letter to the Editor

Books, a guiding hand for life

Eliane Perrets articles are read with great interest and pleasure.
  As a child, I had three books:
  “Struwwelpeter” (“Shaggy Peter”) with terrible stories: Hans looked in the sky and fell in the water, was rescued. Zappelphillip (“The Story of Fidgety Philip”) disappeared under the tablecloth. Children who laugh about a black person were dunked in ink. The thumb-sucker had his thumbs cut off.
  Another book was “Globi, the children’s friend” which was friendlier. The third book was illustrated by a farmer with beautiful pictures of the countryside: flowers, spiderwebs, trees … I no longer remember the story since I couldn’t read at the time. At the age of 9, I became ill for a long period and read “Heidi” by Johanna Spyri. Someone lent me books by Olga Meyer, Elisabeth Müller and romance novels (actually for older people).
  My Mother brought me a book, “Mutterli” by Josef Reinhard (the story of a school girl taught by Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi). Furious, I threw the book on the floor: “I want children's books!” I cried until I fell asleep. Later, I did read the book. It portrayed phases in a woman’s life of as a young, pock-marked woman, as a doctor’s wife, as a mother and as a grandmother. I experienced what humanity, goodness, motherhood and achievement for the community could be. This book was a guiding hand for my life.
  I read everything I could get hold of. My vocational teacher after school had a wonderful library where I could borrow whatever I chose and where my choice of a good book was educated. Books were and are very valuable for me and I have tried to pass this on to my day-care children.
  Books have opened the world for me.
  Dear parents, take the time to look at books with children, to read to them and to read together with them. Let yourselves be advised. There are so many valuable books which can be guiding hands for life.

Marianne Wehrle

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