When I was 3 my mother taught me to read. She insisted that I know how before I began elementary school.
“I knew if you could read, there was no place you could not go, and nothing you could not do,” she told me years later. “I wanted that freedom for you.”
Every evening, my mother would sit me on her lap and, together, we would work our way through Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham” and “Cat in the Hat.” When I found myself stuck on words like “wumbus” and “vipper,” I would complain that they were made up. My mother would laugh. “All of these words are made up,” she replied. As a developing smart aleck, I began to add my own words to the story, with my mother’s loving encouragement.
Later, I’d learn that I was “taking creative…