City of Winnipeg | Libraries

Jan’s Backpack

Jan was an ordinary sort of girl. Her real name was Janet, but she didn’t like the name very much so she went by Jan most of the time. There were only two occasions where she would respond to Janet. Number one, is for official purposes like her for class attendance or when her mother was upset with her. Second is when someone was referring to her backpack. Now you may think what’s the big deal with calling it Jan’s backpack or simply a backpack for that matter, but to Jan all other backpacks were just bags. Janet’s backpack was something special, she had received it as a gift when she was six, and from that time on you would never see her without it. It had been given to her as a gift by her great aunt Ruth. Great aunt Ruth was a nice enough lady, but when it came to gift giving she was the worst! One year around the time of Jan’s fourth birthday great aunt Ruth had given her a plastic tool kit (complete with a toolbelt and hardhat that were much too big for her), since aunt Ruth only came to town for a week every other year, her mother had made Jan play with the toolkit all week. So as Jan opened large brown box that sat in front of her, she knew it was going to be no different. Placed neatly inside the box was the largest (and ugliest) backpack Jan had ever seen. To any adult it would’ve seemed like quite a normal size backpack but to Jan (who was only three feet tall) it was almost as big as she was; and it was green! Who in their right mind would buy a green backpack, green was a smelly no good boy-ish colour. But The worst part was it had her name in it. It didn’t just say Jan’s backpack, but it said Janet’s backpack. Now wherever she went no one would ever look at her and say “Jan can you please move your backpack?” No they would read the tag and say, “Janet can you please move your backpack?” Before she even took the thing out of the box she knew her mother was going to make her wear it for the whole week. “Thanks great aunt ruth,” Jan said “I love it.”
“Well, try it on!” said Jan mother in a tone that was much too happy for Jan in her current position.
As Jan lifted the big green backpack out of the box she nearly fell over due to the sheer weight of the thing! Now she might have been exaggerating a bit, but what else was she going to do. She knew it was going to be a long week, and if she didn’t find some way to make light of her situation she knew that the week would only feel longer.
The week was finally coming to a close and great aunt Ruth was going home tomorrow, usually this would be an exciting time for Jan, because tomorrow meant no more backpack; but the weirdest thing had happened. Jan didn’t want to give up her backpack, the big ugly green bag had grown on her. It had become incredibly useful too, she no longer had to hold her a stuffed elephant, she could simply unzip the bag, place him in and continue to play. Also since it was green this meant she would be the only girl at school with one like it. Jan did have trouble with it sometimes, like once when great aunt Ruth wanted to go the library. Jan had loaded all of her library books in and then promptly fell over, due to the fact that the backpack weighed more than she did.
But that didn’t matter anymore Jan was going to get bigger and stronger, she was going to put all of the books she owned into her backpack and carry them around with her, because this was her backpack. Janet’s backpack, the best and most amazing backpack in the whole world!

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