A Reader’s Foundation

I see a lot of posts on social media that say something to the effect of “I’ve been nominated to share 1 photo every day for 10 days of an album/book/show that influenced my life.” You know what I’m talking about. Maybe you even participated in the fun once or twice. But, this got me thinking about books that not just influenced my life, but books that made me become a reader (and also a writer).

You can become a reader at any point in life. Some people come to reading later. I’ve been devouring books for as far back as I can remember. I come from a family of readers and have memories of my mom taking me to the library and the bookstore.

When you share those influential photos over the allotted period of days, you are also directed to post the images without explanations. Perhaps this is showing the power of an image or it allows your friends/followers to infer something about you based on the image you post. But, I think an explanation is just as important as the image itself. So, today, I thought I’d share a brief list of some of the books that influenced me as a child and turned me into both a reader and a writer (including explanations).

  1. Favorite Poems Old and New: Selected for Boys and Girls by Helen Ferris. I have very strong memories of my mom reading poetry to me as a little kid and I love having the original book that she used to read to me from in my house. Poetry and rhymes are always great with children because the beat makes them easier to commit to memory and it leaves a strong impression. One of my favorite poems that I remember asking my mom to read regularly was “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.” I can’t tell you what I liked about the poem. But there was something about it that drew me to it.
  2. A Little Princess by Francis Hodgson Burnett. Reading a book whose title character has the same name as I do was a big motivator. Plus, this Sara was incredibly imaginative and a storyteller in her own right. I identified strongly with her. To this day, this remains one of my favorite stories of all time.
  3. A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle. Most people get their first encounter with Madelene L’Engle through A Wrinkle in Time. But, I clearly remember picking up A Swiftly Tilting Planet after an unsuccessful attempt at getting through A Wrinkle in Time. Now, don’t get me wrong. I went back to A Wrinkle in Time a little later on and loved it. But, my first love affair with Madeleine L’Engle’s writing was through a different book. I identified strongly with the character of Meg and quickly devoured every other L’Engle book I could find after that.
  4. Acorna by Anne McCaffrey. This is the first non-YA fantasy book I remember reading as a child and it truly opened up my eyes to the realm of storytelling and the reaches of imagination. This novel was also my gateway book to all things fantasy. From here, I delved into Mercedes Lackey and everyone else who was popular in the 90s (and still is today). I think it also contained the first sex scene I ever read (lol).

I always loved fantastical things like magic and fairies and such. So, to have that presented to me in book form made me want it all the more. Being exposed to fantasy was clearly one of the things that made me a reader, so it’s no wonder that fantasy or fantasy elements play strongly into my own writing. What books influenced you as a child? I’d love to hear from you! Please share your experiences in the comments if you are so inclined.

Photo by Lina Kivaka from Pexels