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 Glamour.com 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?