Reading teaches me how to tackle problems in life
New horizons
Published: May 09, 2024 07:07 PM
Editor's Note:

"Read ten thousand books, and your pen will be guided as if by the gods" is an ancient Chinese idiom that can be seen in students' textbooks. China's Ministry of Education has published an action plan to further promote reading among students across the nation. With new and diverse book recommendations, the reading scene is expected to be revived not only at schools, but also across society. To contribute to this endeavor, the Global Times launched "My Reading Life" essay contest for middle school students.

Please pick up a pen and share your stories with us at

Participants will be rewarded once the article has been selected.

Illustration in the book Robinson Crusoe Photos: VCG

Illustration in the book Robinson Crusoe Photos: VCG

Reading is important for our lives as it does well to our mental health, gives us strength and teaches us lessons. Like an old friend, it has also accompanied me from childhood up till now. Reading all kinds of attractive stories has broadened my horizons and enriched my life. The lively characters in books have brought me a lot of joy and taught me how to face problems in my life. The more books I read, the more I have come to love the world and enjoy my life.
Optimism and bravery

When I was little, my mom read story books to me every night. So I gradually developed an interest in storybooks myself, but I didn't really understand them at first. After I went to school, I began reading more books, like novels, poetry collections and biographies, and the characters in the books caught my attention even more. They were like sunshine, lighting up my life; and they were like a lighthouse, guiding me through the darkness. I changed a lot because of them.

The first character to leave a deep impression on me was Robinson Crusoe, the protagonist of the book with the same name. He taught me how to be an independent person and how to be optimistic toward the hardships of life.

First published in 1719, the novel was created by English writer Daniel Defoe. In the story, Robinson Crusoe was stranded on a remote island after leaving his parents and spent 28 years living there. He left them because he did not want to become a lawyer like they wished. 

As a drifter in life, he went through many hardships during those years, including building a house by himself and growing food on his own without assistance. After learning about his primitive life and how to live in the wild from scratch, I felt the power of one individual's courage. 

The story made me reflect on the gap between the isolated life and modernity. How is it possible for a modern man to survive if he finds himself not in a glamorous city but a stark natural environment? I think it is a philosophical question, and I guess maybe isolation can make a person  better understand himself and lead him to find what he really loves in life. 

The part that touched me most was that Robinson Crusoe used rough tools as well as his experience and knowledge to make a big pot that could be used to boil different food. 

Although he failed to make it many times, he still made up his mind to succeed and did not give up.

After a long time of struggling, finally he made a big useful pot. This reflects his optimistic mindset when facing difficulties. Through reading, I began to realize that I was very weak when dealing with problems. But Robinson was a winner in life, he instilled in me the values of optimism and bravery in the face of adversity.

Illustration in the book Robinson Crusoe Photos: VCG

Illustration in the book Robinson Crusoe Photos: VCG

Constant friends

I like dancing very much, but dancing well is not easy. One time, when I was doing a dance movement, I was so careless that it hurt my left foot. It was very hurt and I cried about it for a long time. At that time, I remembered Robinson Crusoe. His difficulties were much worse, so I told myself to learn from him to become a strong girl. I did not cry, but remained optimistic and brave in the face of my injury. From then on, I wasn't afraid of encountering difficulties. I think I have grown up and turned into a strong and brave girl.

August in Wonder is another character that I really admire. He is also a life winner who earned respect from his classmates and school with his great courage and optimistic attitude toward life despite encountering difficulties. 

Born with a facial defect, August is kind of self-contemptuous. At first, he didn't want to go to school, as he was afraid of meeting new people; but in the end, with his family members' help, he decided to go to school. But at school, he had a lot of problems, like being called a 'jerk' by some mean classmates. The thing is that August was just an ordinary kid with an unusual face. No matter how tough his school life was, he was always kind to other people and kept his sense of humor. After some time, his classmates found out that August was not terrible, but just a boy who was brave when facing difficulties, kind and friendly all the time. In the end, everyone wanted to be friends with August, and he liked the school and his classmates. He began to accept his difference and feel normal.

When reading Wonder, I was touched from time to time. For a long time after reading the final page, I could hardly get August out of my mind. His kindness gave me a lot of power to be a kind, brave and confident girl. If August can make such wonder, I can too. 

Charles William Eliot said, "Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors; and the most patient of teachers." Reading is important to me, and it has helped me grow into a better girl. 

I'm willing to be good friends with books forever!

The author is a student at Beijing National Day School