You know how the music you loved in your early teen years tends to be the stuff that nostalgia is made of in your adult years, the kind where you pause in the grocery store and a flood of good feelings fills you? I think books have the exact same sort of influence.
A book that I loved as a child called Island of the Blue Dolphins written by Scott O’Dell is one that I completely forgot about until a recent Amazon email came my way highlighting the book as one I might enjoy. (I must admit Amazon was spot on with this one, except I read it before the internet even existed.) Seeing this title, the familiar cover filled me with a river of nostalgia and memories of books beloved then and now.
Perhaps Amazon is recommending this book to me because I’ve been guilty pleasure reading YA fantasy lately. When I saw this reading recommendation in an email I received earlier this week, I was so excited to have been reminded of this wonderful story. Apparently it is the 50th anniversary of the book’s publication and they are releasing it with a forward written by Lois Lowry.
When I think about other books I read and loved as a child at various ages, I can definitely see how they influenced who I am, my thoughts, ideas, my love of mythology and even my creativity. I was enamored by this idea and started writing down a list of books that I loved as a child. I even did a bit of internet searching for books I had forgotten about but then would remember when I see them. These are what come to mind.
- Redwall by Brian Jacques (I read this series so many times, my paperbacks fell apart)
- Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
- A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeline L’Engle
- The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney
- The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
- Bunnicula by James Howe
- Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
- My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
- Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
- Matilda by Roald Dahl
- Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (I even had my own beagle as a kid!)
While this is a pretty good list, there are at least two books about which I remember small details and remember rereading on the reg, but can’t seem to recall their titles or authors now.
Reading is such an important part of childhood and growing up. For me, reading was everything. I remember family trips to the book store and each of us leaving with armfuls of books. We were lucky to be able to do this, I know, and it is a very fond memory for me. To this day, I am still a voracious reader and I’m currently turning my husband into a fiction reader!
What are some books from your own childhood that have influenced you as a writer, a reader, or just in general?