Today is my birthday. I was never that excited about sharing my birthday. As far as I knew, no celebrities or historical figures that I cared about were born June 29th and only a couple acquaintances. But this year, I discovered that I share my birthday with Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little Prince and fascinating human being. Collectively, we would be turning 143 today, were he still alive. And it is hard to think of an author who I would be happier to share my birthday with (though I did share my birthday party day this year with Eric Carle, who is quite the special guy!).
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was born on June 29, 1900 in Lyons, France. In addition to his writing, he was a dedicated aeronaut, who crashed his planes more than once (including, likely, a crash that took his life – what exactly happened on his final flight is still a bit of a mystery). During one of his failed flights, he crashed in the Libyan desert and, along with his co-pilot, wandered around the desert searching for help for three days (starving, hallucinating, all that fun stuff). It is believed that he drew on this experience in writing The Little Prince.
I first read The Little Prince back in high school and have read it every few years ever since. It’s a beautiful little fable that never fails to entertain, make me think, and both warm and break my heart. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you get to it! And if you read it a while back, I highly encourage you to revisit it someday!
There are a couple versions of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s crash in the Libyan Desert. In one telling, he and his co-pilot’s only supplies were grapes, two oranges, and a small ration of wine. In another, they had a thermos of sweet coffee, chocolate, and a handful of crackers (which for some reason, I picture being of the animal variety). If you were to crash in the desert, what three edible/potable supplies would you like to have in your pack? Or, if you’re feeling bookish, which three books?