What book did you read as a child that changed your life or the way you looked at life? When I ask people this question, I find that almost every reader has a special book or books that they have never forgotten.
Little Women was it for me. I identified with Jo. When I was growing up, my divorced mother supported four children pretty much by herself, and we often struggled financially. Little Women showed me there could be dignity in poverty. It was the book that made me want to be a writer, that made me want to write books that speak to people the way Louisa May Alcott spoke to me.
Shortly after Little Women came the Anne of Green Gables books. Hm… Books about another aspiring writer. My grandmother bought me the whole series, and I still have them. They are some of my most treasured possessions. I pull them down and read them occasionally when I want to remind myself how to create an emotionally engaging character. My friend Hope loves the Anne books, too.
And then there were the Black Stallion books, which didn’t so much change my life as let me escape it for a while. I used to pretend my bike was the Black and I raced against my friends on their bikes/horses . We had the perfect oval street that circled around a gully like a track, and every non-rainy day was Derby Day. Of course, the Black Stallion and I always won. For a while I wanted to change my name to Alec.
When I think of those wonderful books and how important they were to an awkward, shy kid, it makes me want to touch a life like that. Kudos to all the Children and Young Adult writers out there who are changing our children’s lives every day.
What book/books made a difference in your life?