Sunday, January 13, 2013

One Book Can Make A Difference

Hi All!

A commercial came on the other night with the catch phrase “one book can make a difference.”  Classic book characters, from Clifford the Big Red Dog to Goldilocks and the Three Bears sang about how one book in the hands of a child can evoke the imagination and inspire determination.  So it got me thinking about what books and authors made a difference with me growing up.  

Below is what I came up with.  Check it out!  Maybe you’ll find some ideas for the kids in your life or even for yourself...

Oh The Thinks You Can Think by Dr. Seuss
            Dr. Seuss is my tried and true.  From childhood through today, somehow his words seem to resonate with me and my life.  As a kid I had them all, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Hop on Pop, There’s a Wocket in my Pocket, Green Eggs and Ham… I could go on for days.  But Oh The Thinks You Can Think, now that one’s special.  It’s message: you can do anything you set your mind to and the imagination is vast and endless.  (I actually bought a new copy not so long ago so I could have it on my bookshelf as a reminder to believe in myself and my creativity.) 

Aesop’s Fables
           The stories are brief enough to hold a child’s attention, but all end with great morals. Some of the better known tales are The Tortoise and the Hare and The Lion and the Mouse, but there are so many more! I had a beautifully illustrated oversized copy of these when I was a kid and would love to read two or three fables before bed.

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
            Another great children’s story, but I didn’t truly begin to identify with this one until adulthood.  It’s actually incredibly deep and complex and another one of my favorite sources of inspiration when I’ve hit a creative block.

Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
            Great for beginning readers, this is the first collection of books I remember reading on my own Misty of Chincoteague is the story of the wild horses of Assateague Island and a young boy and girl’s experience with one very special mare and her newborn colt.  A beautiful and touching tale for anyone who loves animals.

The Witches by Roald Dahl
            My 3rd Grade teacher Mrs. Rowe introduced me to Roald Dahl.  She read almost all of his books to us during that school year.  The BFG, Matilda, The Witches, and James and the Giant Peach were personal favorites.  The Witches (he adventure of a boy as he discovers witches are indeed real and unlike anything he had ever imagined) was a particular favorite because Mrs. Rowe wove this wonderful tale that she was one of the witches described in the book.  Now, we all knew deep down that it wasn’t true, but it was more fun to pretend it was.  It made the school year fun and one of my favorite memories from elementary school.

Animorphs and Everworld by K.A. Applegate
            Animorphs fell in that pre-adolescence phase, around 6th grade.  It's the story of a group of teens who are given the power to transform into any animal they touch from a dying alien.  They are then thrust into a battle for humanity against a species of aliens who are attempting to take over earth one human body at a time.  I’ll admit that I didn’t complete this series because I grew out of it before it ended (There are over 60 books!), but while I was reading it, I was seriously into it.  I remember how excited I was each time a new one came out.  It’s the first time I really remember getting wound up about the release date of a book. My mom would pick up the latest copy for me while I was in school or we would schedule a specific trip to the bookstore so I could get it ASAP.  And once I was hooked on this series, I was hooked.  I would take my new book, sit in a corner, and read it cover to cover in one day, desperate to know what happened next.  As I got older I transitioned from Animorphs to another K.A. Applegate series geared towards a teen audience called Everworld, which took hold of me in much the same way.  Everworld, the lesser known of the two series, is about a group of teenagers transported into a world where all the gods and creatures of myth are very much real and alive.  Looking back, I would liken the way I read these two series to the way I read romance novels now.  They're very wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am, in a good way.  Quick reads and fun stories that gets you excited and make you want to read more (and great for both boys and girls!).

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
            My first real introduction to the classics, Frankenstein was assigned to be read in my 9th grade English class a few chapters at a time.  The problem was, once I started I couldn’t seem to stop.  The language was more complicated than I was used to, but there was something about the story that fascinated me.  I read the whole thing in two days.  The teacher didn’t know what to do with me!

A Dance Through Time by Lynn Kurland
            My very first romance novel!  I had to read one for a book report in my 9th grade English class and my mom gave me this one because she knew Lynn Kurland’s writing never got too raunchy.  A Dance Through Time is a beautiful love story with twists, turns, and time travel (and without any…ummm… penetration).  A modern woman is thrown back in time to medieval Scotland where she must figure out how to survive and eventually falls in love.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
            Okay, this one’s a big milestone for me, as it is for many of my generation.  The story of Harry Potter became a part of my life in a way I never could have predicted when I first picked up Sorcerer’s Stone.  It had been purchased for my little sister and discarded on a dresser after only making it through a chapter or so.  I’m not sure what made me start reading it, but after a few chapters there was no turning back.  I was invested in these characters, Harry, Ron, and Hermione.  My sister soon caught the bug too.  She may deny it, but I vividly remember following her around the house reading it too her until she would finally sit and listen.  I reread the first two or three books in the series with her, until she got too impatient to know what happened next and took to reading them on her own.  We were obsessed. We force-fed them to our mom via book-on-tape in the car.  When the movies started coming out, they literally became a holiday in our house.  We’d get tickets to the earliest showing on Friday morning and get to skip school.  We’re not a mid-night screening family, we much prefer the quiet empty theater that comes with a morning screening (fewer coughing and rustling candy wrappers to interrupt the viewing experience). 

The longer I thought (and wrote) the more titles popped into my head, but if I included them all this post would go on for days.  Here's a list of the late-comers...
Good Dog Carl by Alexandra Day
(Great for creative little ones - you make up the story yourself!)
Adventures of Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
The Incredible Journey  by Sheila Burnford
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'engle
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Watership Down by Richard Adams

Happy Reading!

Here’s the link to the commercial...

No comments:

Post a Comment