I have loved books for as long as I can remember. Even before kindergarten, I was learning to read. My father used to sit me on his lap and read me Dr. Seuss or other children’s books. I remember in kindergarten writing down in some sort of end–of-the-year check-in that my all-time favorite book ever was “Is Your Mama a Llama” by Deborah Guarino. I think I still have that book packed away somewhere. After kindergarten, of course, it only got worse.
I don’t think it was until third grade that my parents signed me up for The “Babysitter’s Club,” which assured I had four new books to read every month. It was like Christmas all year. To this day, having not picked up a Babysitter’s Club book in easily 15 years, I can still remember that Dawn was the best character because there was a secret passage way in her old farmhouse. Probably not the point that I was supposed to remember from the books (my guess is that I was supposed to remember the PBS special aspects, like “friendship trumps all” and “don’t steal from people you babysit for”) (for the record, I think I have managed to apply those lessons to my life pretty well).
At the same time that I was an honorary member of the Babysitter’s Club, I had delved into Animorphs, my first escape into the wonder realm of science fiction. I picked up the fourth book in the series at a Scholastic Book Fair (you know how children usually have no regard for reading books in order) and I was hooked. I used to close my eyes at night when I was falling asleep and imagine I was turning into a horse or a dolphin, like Cassie and Jake and the rest could. Of course I knew I couldn’t really do that, but I hope maybe that my imagination would seep into my dreams, and then I could have cool dreams about being able to turn into animals. Also there was an intricate car-game of “avoid the yeerks” for long trips…. Also, Animorphs was hard to avoid – they had the coolest covers.
In fourth grade my parents signed me up for the Saddle Club after I stopped reading the Babysitter’s Club books, hoping that playing on my love of horses would keep be reading. This ploy worked – although when I think of it in retrospect, that was a cruel trick to play on a girl who has a severe horse allergy, with a horse farm just down the road. Unfortunately, I just got too old for these recurring series – bored. In sixth grade, I discovered by Tamora Pierce and Harry Potter, and they carried me through middle school and high school, where I branched out more on my own and embraced the fact I had a library with interesting books at my fingertips.
To this day, I own over two-hundred books. That may not be impressive for a lot of you other bibliophiles out there, but considering the fact that this collection has only been growing since 2007, and I am on a restrictive budget, I am happy to have my own little library in my bedroom.
Dear readers, what books inspired you in childhood to become the person you are today? What favorites are you excited (or embarrassed) to share?