One of the things I do when I’m not writing is read. I read magazines, educational articles, poetry, and books from many genres, both fiction and non-fiction. I hate to admit this, but I am a book hoarder. I have tons of books on my bookshelf, many of which I haven’t read yet. They are on my ‘to be read’ list and I have every intention of reading them eventually, and being a teacher, I have quite an extensive collection of children’s books as well.
We all had favorite books as children and teens. Even as adults we have books we love than we can read over and over again. Books that, even after we’ve finished reading them, stick with us for various reasons. I have many favorites. I won’t list them all, but I will list a few that still stand out in my mind years after I’ve read them.
My all time favorite book as a child was Never Tease a Weasel. I’m not sure why I liked this book so much, other than the fact that I enjoyed the rhyme. I distinctly remember “Never tease a weasel, this is very good advice. A weasel will not like it, and teasing isn’t nice.” This was a book I asked my parents to read to me over and over again. I still own the original copy I had as a child.
Put Me in the Zoo. This book is fun. How many things can this animal (to this day I’m not sure what kind of animal he is) do with his spots? I own a copy of this book. It has been in my classroom library for years and I have had to replace it several times. My students read to younger children during the school year and this particular book is one that gets well-used. “They would put me in the zoo if they could see what I can do.”
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. This picture book makes young children laugh. Throughout this book, the pigeon is trying to convince the reader to let him drive the bus, even though the bus driver specifically tells the reader not to let him. The pigeon comes up with every possible reason why the reader should let him drive the bus. At the end, the bus driver comes back and thanks the reader for keeping an eye on mischievous pigeon.
Middle Grades/ Teens:
Witches. This is one of the books I read aloud to my students every year. It’s a fantasy story by Roald Dahl where an average boy gets turned into a mouse at the annual witch meeting being held at a hotel in England. It makes kids think twice because the opening chapter describes witches as ordinary people, stating that even their teacher could be a witch.
Trumpet of the Swan. One of my favorite children’s books. Even as an adult I love to read this book. This is another one I read aloud to my students. The main character is a swan who learns to communicate with humans by going to school and learning to write. He experiences many adventures and befriends one particular human boy.
The Outsiders. I first read this book back in Junior High and loved it. I have read it several times since then, recently in fact, and it’s still one of my favorites. Even my son, who’s not a huge fan of reading, likes this book. I think I like it because the characters are real and memorable. The novel tells the story of two weeks in the life a 14-year-old boy, Ponyboy Curtis, and his struggles with right and wrong in a society in which he believes that he is an outsider. This book was made into a movie, but I have never seen it.
Fear Nothing. I think I can safely say that this is my favorite book simply because I love the characters — Christopher Snow, Sasha, Bobby, and Orson the dog. Christopher has a rare disease called XP in which light could potentially kill him. So he lives in a world of darkness. In this book he attempts to unravel a mysterious and seemingly endless conspiracy centered around a military compound called Fort Wyvern. He experiences the death of his father, mysterious murders, and strange monkeys that seem to be out to kill him. This book was later followed by a sequel called Seize the Night. I have read both multiple times.
Rachel’s Folly. This is a debut novel by Monica Bruno and one of the best suspense books I’ve ever read. A serious and thoughtful book that takes a serious look at the consequences of adultery. Definite plot twist. This book did not turn out at all the way I thought it would. Kept my attention throughout and left me wondering what was going to happen next.
The Notebook. A love story told from an 80 year-old man’s perspective. He tells the tale of Noah and Allie, two kids from opposite sides of the track, who fall in love. She leaves at the end of summer, but they reunite many years later. This novel is emotional, especially for Noah, and is a moving portrait of love. This book was also made into a movie, one I actually watched recently.
Books have a wonderful way of tugging at emotions and taking readers into worlds they wouldn’t otherwise experience. As a reader, you fall in love with characters, laugh at funny things they say or do, get angry over their bad circumstances, and sometimes cry along with them. Different books touch people in different ways. A book that touches one reader may not affect another. Reading is an individual experience. That’s the magic of books.
What books did you love as a child or young adult? What books have you read that left an impact or moved you for whatever reason? Share your thoughts.