You’ve probably seen the challenge around Facebook. No, not the Ice Bucket one. The other one. The one where someone challenges you to list the first ten books you can think of that have stayed with you. They don’t have to be famous or great works of literature, just affected you in some way.
Although I’ll post this list on Facebook, I thought it would be fun to say a little more about each book here on my website. So here goes!
1. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery–If this surprises you, you don’t know me very well. I read Anne as a book report recommendation from my sixth grade reading teacher. This is the book that made me want to write stories for teens and tweens. It probably also influenced my decision to be a teacher. A friend of mine recently discovered Anne, and when she saw the movie, she said, “Yep, this has Amy written all over it.”
2. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling–This also should not surprise anyone who knows me. I’ve been to some of the Harry Potter sites in London, ate lunch at the cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote the first books, and was one of those who hung out at bookstores until midnight to buy the last few books on the night of their release. If the Anne of Green Gables series lit the fire for me to write for kids, the Harry Potter books refueled it.
3. Izzy, Willy-Nilly by Cynthia Voight–Read this in eighth grade. Knocked my socks off. I’d never read realistic fiction like this before. The book opens with the narrator in the hospital waking up as the doctors tell her they’re going to have to amputate her leg. Slowly, she remembers the date with Mario and his drinking and the car crash.
4. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle–Read it as part of a Battle of the Books competition in junior high. Talk about taking us to other worlds!
5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee–Didn’t read this one until I was forced to teach it! Ha! Who would’ve known teaching English would’ve actually brought me even more novels to read!
6. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls–This is another one I didn’t end up reading until I had to teach it. I’m not even a dog lover, but I loved this one. I even loved the dogs in this one. It’s simply but beautifully written.
7. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie–Okay, I’m kind of using this a stand-in for all of Christie’s mysteries. I haven’t read them all, but I’ve read quite a few. How does she manage to almost always get me at the end?
8. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle–It may all be elementary for Holmes, but Watson and I are usually left feeling a bit clueless. Also, I just love quirky detectives.
9. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen–Like Murder on the Orient Express, this is kind of a stand-in for all of Austen’s novels. She just makes you want to live in another time period where people at least pretend to be polite to one another.
10. Wonder by R.J. Palacio–Read this just over a year ago. If you like kids’ books but haven’t read it yet, go grab a copy. It’s a beautiful tale of a disfigured boy who faces going to a regular school after years of being homeschooled.