Ever since I can remember, I have absolutely loved reading. When my grandmother used to babysit me at 3 years old, she would sit on her couch and read for hours in the afternoon, and I would sit next to her and pretend to do the same thing. I just loved the idea of it, even when I couldn’t read.
Growing up, I was one of those kids who anxiously waited for the Scholastic flyers at school. Once a month I would sit at home and look at every single book in the catalogue that was sent home with me, trying to figure out what books I wanted to read next. I still have a bunch of those books now, and the ones that I gave away I regret terribly.
At my work, I deal with parents and their kids every day trying to find the right book. And the really sad thing is that there are a LOT of kids that are being forced into reading these days. Parents come in looking for that “right fit” of a story that will make their child fall in love with reading, and a lot of other parents are dragging their kids and teenagers around the store just begging them to try something new. Luckily a lot of my customers have loved my recommendations in reading and have fallen in love with books because of it. And of course a huge number of people come in and just can’t get ENOUGH books. I love those people.
I was never the person that you’d have to force to read a book. A lot of my childhood favorites were books I even had to read for school: Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel and The Giver by Lois Lowry are the first two that come to mind. But there were so many other series of books that marked me growing up. Every kid who loves books has the ones that will stick in your mind forever and remind you of growing up, summers with best friends, Scholastic flyers at school, or even those days that you would lock yourself up in your room for an entire day to finish a REALLY good story (Harry Potter had that effect on me).
But besides Harry Potter, there were a few more series of books as well as various authors that remind me of growing up, that taught me important lessons in those years were I felt like no one understood me (ah, the moody teenager syndrome!). Some of my younger favorites included The Babysitter’s Club, Goosebumps, Amazing Days of Abby Hayes, California Diaries & Fear Street. Yup, I was an R.L Stine/Ann M. Martin kinda girl. I remember the days when my mom would give me 2 dollars and send me off to the dollar store to buy the latest edition of The Babysitter’s Club, and I would sit in my room for the few hours that it took me to read through it. Remember those hilarious 90’s covers? Nothing beats them:
As a teenager, no series of books were more important to me (besides Harry Potter, again, you just can’t beat them) than The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. That series of 4 books was the reason I understood being a teenager. I grew up with Lena, Tibby, Carmen and Bridget, I laughed with them and I cried with them. When the movies came out I went to see them with my 3 best friends and we laughed and cried some more.
I recently started re-reading this series of books, and it had me reminiscing about all the good times I had growing up, reading these books that have stayed with me over the last 2 decades of my life. It’s one of those passions that will never go away- reading is the reason that I fell in love with writing, it’s the reason that I hope to one day work in publishing.
There’s a moral to this story- if or when you have kids, make sure to show them how amazing the world of books can be. There are are so SO many great ones out there, for all ages. Even today, I am amazed at the sheer number of fantastic novels that I have read in each and every single age category.
“Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.” ~Author Unknown