The Children's Book Behind Marilyn Monroe's Famous JFK "Happy Birthday" Performance

There comes a time in one's life where the inevitable happens. You have to get all of your junk out of your parents' house.

And boy, do I have a lot of junk. 

After carrying out three cardboard boxes full of children's books, my husband turned to me. 

"Do you really need all of these?" he lamented. I understood his plight. But I wasn't ready to capitulate. 

"Yes. I do."

He picks up a random book from the stack. 

"How about this one?"

"That's The Velveteen Rabbit," I answer. "The illustration of the sad bunny when he gets thrown out after the little boy gets scarlet fever is sooo sad and sweet!"

"Ok. How about this one?"

"Uh-uh. Don't even touch anything from the Frog & Toad series."

So off they went, box after box. Once we were home, I began going through them in-depth, picking out the ones I really wanted to keep. My husband was right. I had gone a little bit overboard. 

It's funny though, for the most part, I could remember the plotline from almost every single one of these books. They inspired me, they taught me core lessons about life. 

Right around the time I was sifting through boxes of books, I was also reading Marilyn Monroe's biography. I had to smile when it stated that she had an acute bout of stage fright, just before her infamous crooning of the "Happy Birthday" song to John F. Kennedy. I found that fascinating. What I found more fascinating was the fact that she carried a book with her backstage -- a book a young friend had given her to give her courage. 

The book was The Little Engine that Could. And I find this anecdote proof-positive that children's stories really can change the world. 

other stories from the golden age of hollywood to inspire you:

Stefanie Cosman