Anyone who knows me knows that I love books and Disney. I don’t think it really comes to anyone’s surprise that as a writer, I’m a bibliophile. And there’s just something about the magic of the animated Disney films that I can’t quite shake away from no matter how old I get.
My parents have been feeding me Disney movies for as long as I can remember. When I turned 3, I was rewarded with a Little Mermaid cake and it was pretty snazzy looking too. I’ve been gifted with Disney movies and memorabilia and even my first movie theater experience was a Disney movie (Pocahontas, in case you were wondering). First musical experience? Beauty and the Beast.
Switching gears, I can’t tell you when I first started devouring books. I’m not even sure why I was so attached to them at such a young age. My parents aren’t readers. I wasn’t brought up in a house that had a shelf of books. But on occasion, there was a book available like Silence of the Lambs or a Dean Koontz book could be seen lying around. I have a copy of There’s A Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom by Louis Sachar that I wrote in at some time in my toddler years, but nobody remembers how I obtained the copy. Either way, the first classroom trip to the school library was a fascinating experience and the moment my first grade teacher, Mrs. Metz, started teaching us about phonics, I was forever hooked, so to speak.
My parents would read me a book on occasion or if I asked, but besides that, I taught myself how to read. Despite their lack of interest in reading (television will always be their preferred form of entertainment) they still provided me with plenty of books to keep me entertained once they took notice this wasn’t some sort of a phase.
How does my love of books relate to Disney? Well… there’s one theory: The Belle Factor. Beauty and the Beast is and will always be my favorite movie of all time. There’s just something wonderful about the fairy tale and especially the way Disney portrayed it that just struck a chord with me. My theory is that Disney brainwashed me. Now, hear me out on this. I’ve seen the movie more times than I can count. Belle is, by far, the most realistic heroine Disney has ever presented us with. She’s courageous, strong, stubborn, curious, and most of all a lover of books. With as many times as I’ve watched the movie (and trust me, I could act out scenes at the drop of a hat) and as young and impressionable as I was, I’m thinking that somewhere, somehow in my tiny developmental brain, the seeds of loving books were sown. Now, I think that I’d still have enjoyed reading with or without Belle, but without her, I don’t think I’d have found books about, “far off places, daring sword fights, magic spells, and a prince in disguise” as fascinating without her.