Dr. Nora J. Bird
- Library and Information Studies
- Associate Professor, 2014
The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster
This pun-filled little book was introduced to me by a friend in high school at a period when I was as bored as the hero, Milo. His many adventures have stayed with me through the years and inspire many aspects of my approach to my academic career. Milo's adventure to the warring City of Numbers and City of Numbers and the fact that they can be saved only by the twin princesses, Rhyme and Reason, is an important allegory for what can happen in academic circles. The debate about what counts as research on a college campus is reminiscent of this war. In addition, I think often about the character whose head stays in the same place and his feet grow down, so that he never has to change perspective. It is an important concept to bring to the classroom. I don't necessarily want my students to change all of their perspectives but I want them to respect the multiplicity of perspectives in the world. There are many such wonderful scenes in this book that tickle your fancy and help you to think. That is what a good book does.