It was over two years ago, at the BIF-7 business conference in Providence, RI, when I had the opportunity to hear author Chris Van Allsburg speak. Like many in attendance, I knew of the author's celebrated Christmas story, The Polar Express, and I was curious to hear his talk.
The subject turned out to hit closer to home than I expected, as Van Allsburg's talk was about his newest book, Queen of the Falls. This was a lovingly rendered picture book which told the story of Annie Edson Taylor, the first person to survive a trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel. As Western New York native, I felt great appreciation to Van Allsburg for telling the story but surprise that Annie's story wasn't widely known. I was also excited to get the book and bring it home to my daughter, who had just turned four.
Earlier this month, I finally read Queen of the Falls to my daughter. Though I was tempted to read it to her back in 2011 when I first brought it home, the language and story themes prompted me to wait until she was older. As we finished, my daughter smile and remarked that she was glad Annie made it over the Falls and that the next time we go there, she wants to learn more about her.