Chris and I would like to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving, and in honor of Thanksgiving, we have a very special and possibly sappy question of the week for you.
What's the one children's or teen book you're most thankful for because it had such an impact on you growing up?
I'm very thankful for books in general, but one stands out above the rest for me. I could say something more high brow like A Separate Peace, something more philosophical like The Chronicles of Narnia, or something more thought-provoking like The Giver. Instead, I'm going to say J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan.
Lots of books present readers with new worlds where characters can
become whatever they want and escape their real-world problems. The
world of Neverland is one of high-flying adventures, swashbuckling
pirates, and mythical mermaids and fairies. In Neverland, time stands
still and clocks are only for crocodiles. For Peter and the Lost Boys,
Neverland offers them an escape from their greatest fear--growing up to
become a miserable adult. For the rest of us, who can't live in eternal
childhood, Neverland is an escape from our ordinary, mundane,
run-of-the-mill lives, but it also helps us appreciate family and love,
which seem to be the only things missing from such an extraordinary
world. J.M. Barrie's life and his signature book are reminders that
growing up isn't all bad, as long as you take time each day to reclaim
Okay, I came up with this question, and I'm having a hard time answering it. There were just so many books growing up that shaped who I am today and molded my reading tastes into what they are now. The first book I remember loving was The Velveteen Rabbit, and now I'm still a sucker for animal books. Where the Red Fern Grows is another favorite animal book along with Charlotte's Web. I also grew up completely drawn in by fantasy books like The Chronicles of Narnia, The Phantom Tollbooth, and The Neverending Story, and to this day fantasy is hands-down my go-to genre because of the way you can escape into fascinating magical worlds. (I've always had a crush on Peter Pan too. Guilty.) Being a complete history nerd, I had a Laura Ingalls Wilder phase and was completely obsessed with American Girl books as well, and now I sneak in a good historical fiction book every now and then because it's like having your own time machine to see what life was like in days gone by and to see how similar people are despite differences in time period. However, if I have to pick absolutely one book above all the rest that had the most impact on me, that would be Matilda by Roald Dahl. Matilda taught me that not only was it okay to be smart but it was amazingly heroic and courageous to be smart. Matilda's love of books echoed mine; neither of us could get enough of them! Matilda showed me that there's something enchanting and powerful about reading and that books have a way of making even the most difficult life situations bearable. You can go anywhere and be anyone in a book, and no one taught me that more than Matilda.