Author Penny West was born in Washington, D.C., went north for college and ended up raising a family in Maine, where she had spent summers as a child. It was there, in a camp by the sea, that the world of books opened for her, starting with bedtime stories and progressing to the joys of reading by herself. She was inspired to write Once Upon a Time Nobody Could Read after she was helping her children read and had an “Aha!” moment: our universal instinct toward language — spoken, signed, written — is so strong that we’ll do almost anything to use it. We invent words; create different languages; and share stories that connect us to the past, the future and the present. This book is a celebration of our innate desire to communicate.