Books That Inspire 2012

A Child's Garden of Verses
Robert Louis Stevenson

From a happy childhood I recall Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses, first published in 1885. I was not a child in an English garden or a Scottish one, nor yet on the beach of Monterrey, but the timeless truths ("Chief of our aunts!") and deep feminist values ("Great commander Jane!") formed the way I felt about people as well as language and poetry ("I was the giant great and still that sits upon the pillow hill"). Dying too young, Stevenson (1850-1894) did experience wide swatches of the world and conveyed the idea to me and then my children that it is never too late for a happy memory of childhood.

Daniel Snell
L. J. Semrod Professor of History