I am a lover of stuffed animals. I collected many as a child and even more as an adult. My husband didn’t have many stuffed animals growing up because his parents thought stuffed animals were not a “boy thing.” They were not bad parents, just very misinformed. We began our animal collection soon after we began dating. At one point, we had a menagerie of seventy-two stuffed animals. As we moved from place to place, we had to narrow down our tribe, and I made many a child happy with my animal gifts.
A few years ago, when I was at my favorite bookstore in Manhattan, The Strand, I came across Mark Nixon’s book, Much Loved. Mr. Nixon took photographs of people’s stuffed animals and wrote about their origins and stories. It was such a sweet and comprehensive look at the importance of stuffed animals in people’s lives, both young and old.
Four years ago, I created community writing project to celebrate my school’s Young Authors’ Week. The project asked students to write about and take a photo of their favorite stuffed animal. I then compiled all the submissions into a big book that we keep in our school library. Both children and teachers loved this activity.
I thought I would immortalize some of my own personal collection. I realize that many of my stuffies are getting up there in age, as am I, and I want to make sure I preserve their memories.