Here is a non-surprising fact about me: when I was a kid, I spent about 90% of the time with my nose in a book. Excellent for my imagination. Not so great for my social skills.
I sometimes get asked why I choose to write fiction for kids and my answer is pretty simple. As much as I adore many, many books as an adult, I don't think I will ever forget some of the first books I read as a kid and the world of sheer wonder that they presented to me. Those books are in the fabric of who I am. And the thought that maybe I could be a part of that as an author gives me goosebumps.
Recently, I was thinking about those early books and the authors who wrote them. It didn't take me long to figure out the three main ones who made me a reader for life. And they are:
Her books are the first novel-length ones I ever remember reading. My second grade teacher read a couple to us in class and--because one of my favorite things to play at was teacher--I made my mom buy those same exact books at home so that my stuffed animals would get as top-notch an education as me. And then I made her buy me more. And more. Ramona, Beezus, Henry, Otis, Ellen, Ribsy, I love you forever. And thanks, Ms. Becker, wherever you are!
This is a big one for me. The slightly twisted humor. The deliciously clueless adults. Quentin Blake's drawings. Dahl continues to be one of my biggest inspirations. He died when I was nine, and I distinctly remember hearing about it and being extremely sad because that meant that there would only be a finite number of his books I could ever read. I so carefully rationed them out to myself at the library over the following two years. The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me was my last one. I'll never forget that.
Ann M. Martin
I sincerely challenge you to find an American girl around my age who did not read The Baby-Sitter's Club. These books were the first taste I ever had of devouring pages. Sometimes I would finish them before we had left the bookstore, but insist on buying them anyway because I wanted them for my library. That pastel shelf in my library still makes me wistful. There was something incredibly comforting (and somehow page-turning) about being a part of Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, et. al's world and I consider them some of my first fiction BFFs.
What about you? Who are the children's authors that turned you on to reading?