Madeline has had a particularly important place in my childhood. She was my role model — the smart, strong, spunky female character I aspired to be like. My mother read me the Madeline books, watched the Madeline videos with me, and organized Madeline-themed tea parties for my third and fourth birthdays. These parties included dramatic presentations that my family put on for our guests, with me as Madeline (in a home-made blue coat and yellow hat), my mother as Miss Clavel (in a full habit, no less), and my father and brother filling in as the secondary characters. My brother, 11 at the time, even went so far as to don dog ears and a yellow bow to play Genevieve.My family’s enchantment with Madeline became meaningful early on when, at age two and a half, I had open heart surgery. While I was in the O.R., my mother embroidered an open heart surgery incision on my beloved Madeline rag doll, who already came with a scar on her tummy from her appendectomy. I was stuck in the hospital for a month, and my family did everything they could to entertain me. We drew pictures, made paper chains, and watched Shirley Temple movies on repeat, but one of my favorite things to do was read Madeline books. When we got to the right page, I, like Madeline, would sit up in my hospital bed and shout, “Voila! My scar!” Madeline taught me to be proud of my scar and gave me the confidence to know that I was brave and strong.