Rachel McElroy and her husband Griffin host a weekly podcast called Wonderful. Listeners are encouraged to write in with items of enthusiasm such as movies, television, sports, books, and more for topics of discussion. With a background in poetry, Rachel began an informal segment called “Rachel’s Poetry Corner” to expose more people to poetry.
She connected with frequent listener Erica Huff, owner of Wick Habit. With a history of donating portions of her proceeds to local causes and inspired by Rachel, Erica created a “Rachel’s Poetry Corner” candle.
“Orders started streaming in and I was so moved by the interest that I decided to match her contribution,” said Rachel about her 20 books by 2020 matching gift.
What was your favorite children’s book, and who was the author?
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
What was it about this book that made it special to you?
I grew up as an only child and felt an intense, but sometimes lonely curiosity about the world of adults and other people around me. I was always investigating and writing things down but I didn’t know anyone else doing that.
Who was your favorite character?
Harriet was an outsider, but a confident one. It was exciting to read a book about a girl that was the main character and true to herself.
What do you like about reading?
Reading a book for pleasure is a life changer. I think so many people limit their experience with reading to assignments in school. Then they potentially have to go to school and have someone tell them what everything means and the point of the story and ultimately what they *should* be getting out of it. But when you choose a book and read it for yourself, you get an individual relationship with that book or writer. And it’s just yours and it speaks to you in your own individual way. It can be very powerful.
What other books did you like to read when you were younger?
One book that really stands out to me, as my first book of poetry, is A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. I remember it as this beautifully illustrated book of poems about being a kid and all the magic associated with that. “The Swing” a poem about the joy of being in a swing, was an immediate favorite.
What would you tell someone younger learning to read?
I think, when you’re first starting, it’s perfectly acceptable to judge a book by it’s cover! I’m still drawn to books for my son that have exciting covers. He’s two and his interests are really starting to take shape. For me, it’s important to draw him in right away. So if a book has a dog on the cover or a monkey or particularly Mickey Mouse, I know it’s a good place to start.