On July 12, Else Holmelund Minarik, author of the Little Bear I Can Read series (so wonderfully illustrated by Mauruce Sendak), died at age 91. The Little Bear books helped this blogger learn to read and to love reading and so I owe Minarik my gratitude. In my school first graders were given Dick and Jane primers to practice on. I never got far with them, but at home there was a stack of well-thumbed Little Bear books. My mother read them to me, and I would mimic her, pretending to read the words when I had only memorized them. (I wasn't fooling anyone, myself included.) Then, one day, I picked up one of the books and--miracle of miracles--I wasn't reciting. I was reading! The letters on the page had magically shifted and suddenly made sense. So thank you, Else Holmelund Minarik, for writing words that mattered.