My mom taught me to read at a very young age — possibly four, certainly by the time I was five — and I have been reading ever since.
One of the happy consequences of all that reading is that there is no better way to learn to be a writer.
Part of mom’s lessons involved the continual exposure to the kind of children’s books that not only captured my imagination but also shaped me as a reader.
So here are my five favorites — books that, with varying degrees of success, I tried to pass on to my own kids.
5. From The Mixed Up Files Of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. Something about kids in a crisis, an enormous museum, an elderly woman, and … SURPRISE! … a mixed up filing system.
4. Ribsy, by Beverly Cleary. All the Cleary books are fabulous, of course, but the ones involving the dog were the best.
3. A Wrinkle In Time, by Madeline L’Engle. Kids in trouble travel in time. How could you go wrong? It wasn’t until much later that I learned L’Engle was motivated by a deeply Christian hope.
2. Across Five Aprils, by Irene Hunt. The Civil War, a divided land, and a divided family. This one put a face to history.
1. The Call Of The Wild / White Fang, by Jack London. The great irony that these two-for-the-price-of-one books merited multiple re-reads? I am deathly afraid of dogs.