Deb Sarah’s Life-Changing Books

There have been many, many books that have had a huge impact on me over the years, but I’m going to focus on my early years–since this is the time that I both decided that a.) I loved reading, and b.) that I wanted to be a writer.

I have a tendency to want to self-edit this list, to only share certain titles and leave the others out, but I’m going to restrain myself. Here’s an un-edited (and sort of random) list of books that meant something to me in my early years (no laughing, now):

*Santa Mouse: Was that a snicker, I heard? Seriously, this little holiday story still makes me feel happy. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s the cheese wrapped in chewing gum wrapper (or was it chewing gum wrapped in cheese wrapper?), or the adorable illustrations, or the mouse without a name. I don’t know. I just love it. After many years having forgotten about Santa Mouse, my sister gave me a copy for Christmas shortly after I graduated from college. It brought tears to my eyes!

*The Little House on the Prairie series: Ahhh, those books still evoke warm, cozy feelings of log cabins and smoldering logs in the fireplace. Did any of you try to make “ice cream” out of snow after reading about Laura’s snow candy?

*James and the Giant Peach: My beloved fourth grade teacher, Mr. Raymond, read this to our class as we ate licorice after lunch. I’m not sure if it was the story, or Mr. Raymond’s magic as a teacher, that lingers in my memories so vividly. The man was enchanting–I could taste James’ peach as he read the pages aloud. I feel like looking up Mr. Raymond right now to tell him so.

*The Anne books by L.M. Montgomery: I already confessed my Anne-ophile ways here at The Ball, so the secret’s out. Raspberry cordial anyone?

*The Babysitters Club books: Oh my goodness, I still get a little giddy, even now, thinking about reading these books, planning my own babysitting adventures and staring at the stylish girls on the covers–with their stirrup leggings and teased bangs. (See the cover above? I wanted that yellow jumpsuit like you wouldn’t believe!) These girls were the ultimate in independence and style for me as a pre-teen. (Rosemary over at interviewed the series’ author, Ann M. Martin, recently–so fun!)

And there are dozens of others, probably, but I’ll stop here because I’m happy with these memories. Every child should be as lucky to stumble upon a stack of books that engage her imagination in the ways these did for me.

What books were meaningful in your early years?

xo, Sarah

10 Replies to “Deb Sarah’s Life-Changing Books”

  1. Mr. Pudgins
    Nancy Drew
    The Weekly Reader book club selections
    Good Old Archibald
    The Bad Times of Irma Baumlein

    My childhood books are dear friends. Re-reading them is like a time machine. Nestle Quik and Seven Layer Bars in the kitchen while pouring pickle juice for my little brother. (You’ll get that if you read my book.) 🙂

  2. I loved all the Little House on the Prairie books. Also Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden were among my favorites. Then came the Sweet Valley High books…sigh. Those were my staple in my later years of grade school when I decided boys were no longer “icky!”


  3. I loved the Little House books!!! Been dying to get my daughter into them, but she wants no part of them. She also refuses to let me read Mixed Up Files to her. It’s her own form of rebellion… If I’m too excited about a book, she won’t even crack it. The good part is that she goes after great new books, like the Percy Jackson series, which she and I are mutually obsessed with.

  4. Oh heavens! I love the Babysitter Club books. I still bust out the ones I hid from my mom (she was constantly throwing away all my books – blasphemy!) and some I’ve picked up from the thrift stores. I am super dorky. I read most of the books from my childhood: Babysitters, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, American Girls — love love those (Molly and Samantha are my favs), and I am Regina, Flight 116 is Down, and many many many others. I do sometimes read mature books as well!

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