What I Learned When I Was Eleven by Darlene Beck Jacobson

 I grew up in a humble household, sharing a bedroom with my younger sister Sandra. Mom grew up in poverty as one of 13 children, and had to quit school at 14 to help support the family. Dad suffered PTSD everyday due to his POW experiences in WWII and was unable to work. But there was never a day that passed that I didn't feel their love and words of encouragement. 

 We often don't think about the things we learn while we are learning them. But learn them I did. By the age of 11, I learned:

* The value of saving coins for days when cupboards were bare. Those coins went a long way toward a nourishing meal.

*  Creativity and imagination cost nothing. Paper, crayons, glue, and scissors led to hours of making everything from hats, paper chains, cards, and Christmas ornaments.

* A library card was a passport to untold adventures.

* An old sheet could be turned into just about anything.

* Home-cooked meals are an expression of love.

* Spending time with people of all ages helps you appreciate people of all ages. 

* Reading and writing are important and so is good grammar. Dad showed this by working crossword puzzles, reading a daily newspaper, and correcting Sandra and me whenever we used ain't or double negatives.

* Sharing a room, a bed, and a bathroom teaches patience, kindness, compromise. I also learned that getting along with your sibling is more important than always having your own way.

* Please, thank you, and I'm sorry are magic words.

* Dancing is good for the soul, even if you aren't good at it. It also builds confidence.

* When life gives you lemons, you can choose to make lemonade.

* Birthdays are special and should be celebrated.

 * Ice cream makes everything better.

* If things don't work out today, you get another chance to try again tomorrow.

Darlene Beck Jacobson tapped into her eleven-year old personality to write many of the poems in her verse novel WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY, which is set in 1964 when she was 11 years old. Using her imagination is still her favorite past time.