Happy Birthday Rudyard Kipling

At a presentation I did last week, the audience was asked to introduce themselves and name their favorite childhood book. It was heartwarming to hear and see the love that washed over the titles mentioned. What book turned you into a lover of reading? I am not sure I can definitively answer that question but I do know that I became hooked by the power of storytelling with, “and then what happened?” after meeting the Arabian Nights, Tales From A Thousand And One Nights.

As parents we want our children to love the books we loved as a child—and sometimes that happens. Rudyard Kipling’s classics the Jungle Books (1894) and its sequel, The Second Jungle Book (1895), as well as his Just So Stories (1902) seem to have stood the test of time—being enjoyed by every new generation of children. Kipling, a writer of short stories, novels, and poetry, was the first English writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize. Although many of his works stirred up controversy, his least controversial achievements are his children’s stories. The Jungle Books chronicles the adventures of a human boy, Mowgli, who is raised by wolves and taught the lore of the jungle. The Just So Stories recounts, with humor, how various animals developed certain physical characteristics. These books seem to defy Mark Twain’s definition of a classic, ” A classic is a book which people praise and don’t read.”

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