Sunday, September 10, 2006

Question of the Week: What is one book that changed your life?

Question of the Week: What is one book that changed your life?

To be answered throughout the week (feel free to share yours!).

Children in Hiding
This book is an early reader, I think I read it when I was in 1st or 2nd grade (my version was called Tomas takes Charge). In it, Tomas (while surviving in an abandoned building with his sister) meets a woman who is a children’s book illustrator. Before reading this book, I never really thought about how there was a person who drew the pictures for the book—that it was job the way a doctor or a bus driver was. And I thought, hey, that’s neat. I’d like to do that…

One of my favorite books as a kid was Blackboard Bear, by Martha Alexander. I think what I found so powerful about these books is the way the boy's imagination is his strength, and helps him resolve his problems. I can still remember the tactile pleasure of imagining a real blackboard bear climbing off the wall to be your friend and biggest fan- it so summed up the loneliness that I felt as a kid, and inspired me to be creative!

I have so many potential answers to this question, but if I have to pick just one, I'll say Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. I first read this when I was about nine-years-old and of course I didn't understand a lot of it--I didn't even get why she was writing to "Kitty"--I missed the part when she explains that it isn't a real person. But two things I've gotten out of it that have stayed with me even today (of course, I've read it at least two more times since my first initial reading). 1) It inspired me to start writing in a diary, and I've kept writing in one ever since (you can see a stack of them here). 2) The famous quote, the one that Libby highlighted, “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are good at heart,” has resonated and stayed with me my whole life.

If you have a question that you'd like us to answer as a future question of the week, feel free to post it in the comment section. You may do this anonymously as well, if you'd like.


Nancy said...

These are interesting answers!

Libby, I'm proud to say I am (very very distantly) related to J.M. Barrie. Too distant for royalties, alas.

It's so hard to say which book changed my life. Was it Little Women, for being the first novel I read as a child? Was it Nancy Drew, for being the first full-on reading addiction I remember?

Perhaps it was really the little hard-cover red book with the blank pages, where I began recording my poems at the age of 7.

Libby Koponen said...

Oh my gosh, related to JM Barrie! You ARE lucky -- I would feel like royalty if I were. And one of the BRGs (I don't think we should out other people about anything)is distantly related to Thomas Edison, another idol of mine! Very cool.

I'm not related to anyone famous, unless being a Macgregor (outlawed by the British crown, it was even illegal to have the last name they were such fighters against it) counts.