As I prepare to raise a daughter, I can't help but look back on who I was as a little girl and what major forces in my life made me grow the most. Reading is one of the first things that comes to mind. My first word was "book." After I learned to read, I spent hours up in my room or up in my favorite tree in the backyard turning pages. I know I owe much of my love for stories to my parents and the energy they spent reading to me night after night, but I also owe it to the authors who reached out and grabbed my heart through the characters I secretly considered some of my closest friends when I was young. These are some of the books that turned me into a reader and compelled me to keep reading. These are some of the books that stayed up with me all night, the ones I finished and immediately began again.
"Goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight noises everywhere."
Margaret Wise Brown
"Come and climb up my trunk and swing from my branches and eat apples and play in my shade and be happy."
The Giving Tree
"So Matilda's strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out to the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone."
"If you've been up all night and cried until you have no more tears left in you--you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing was ever going to happen again."
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship."
Louisa May Alcott
Louisa May Alcott
"It's not so much that I like him as a person God, but as a boy he's very handsome."
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.
"People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for."
To Kill a Mockingbird
"Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road."
On the Road
"It wasn't only wickedness and scheming that made people unhappy, it was confusion and misunderstanding; above all, it was the failure to grasp the simple truth that other people are as real as you."
"It is a thousand pities never to say what one feels."
"And that's the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does, too."
The Kite Runner
I'd recommend any and all of these, no matter how old you are. I'm so thankful for these books (and many others!) and the ways they contributed to shaping my mind and heart up to this point in my life.