I ventured off the beaten path during SxSW this year to attend the second Get Ready To Live event hosted by THE Tim Hayden. I was not disappointed. Jason Falls moved me to tears and Tom Webster inspired me to map my book DNA. Allow me to explain.
In a span of 15 minutes, Tom took us on a journey through time as he showed the cover art of albums and played the music that shaped and molded to his life. He mapped how one album choice led to the discovery of a new music group, album or song. I am positive all of us sitting in that room were thinking about what our maps might look like and why. While music can bring up my spirits or rekindle faded memories, books are what have shaped and molded to my life.
I am a voracious reader, sometimes finishing three or four books in a week. What pulls me into a story? Why do I re-read certain books over and over until the cover is worn thin? How do I feed my seemingly endless craving for books? Have previous books influenced the books I read now and why? How do I choose the next book to read?
One dark and stormy, sleepless night three weeks ago, I decided to list every book I have read or had read to me that has had an impact. Hopefully, this will inspire you to reread your favorite childhood book or dust off the classics lining your bookshelf. Stories have no age limit. So, without further ado, here is one of many posts mapping the journey of fiction and non-fiction books that forever have a place in my DNA.
- The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone– Forget Elmo. When I was watching Sesame Street, my favorite character was Grover. So, whatever Grover could handle, I could too. As a kid (actually, still as an adult), I was scared of everything. I worried about everything. This book challenged me to face my fears. Things were not so scary if I stood tall and faced them directly.
- Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss– As a child, I was not a huge fan of Dr. Seuss, but I did read this particular book over and over again. Sam I Am teaches kids and adults that we should never judge by looks and avoid snap judgments. This is a book I continue to read as an adult…with and without the kidlettes!
- Hello Kitty’s Paper Kiss by Sarah Bright – I have owned this book since preschool. It was a gift from one of my teachers. I can still remember reading this book with my mother when I was four years old and waiting for my dad to return from TTY. I always thought that my dad could hear me wherever he may be and think of me as we read the book. No need for email or Skype, paper kisses and hugs soothed the longing for my daddy.
- Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt– Ring and finger This is another book I have kept since I was the age my youngest is now. I have read this simple action story to my oldest daughter, now eight, and my youngest, now two years old. Just like me, their favorite part of the book is slipping their own tiny fingers into the ring finger opening, pretending to wear the mother’s ring. One day, that opening will be too big for their fingers and they will wear rings of their own, but they will always be my baby girls as I still my mother’s baby.
- Little Miss and Mr. Series by Roger Hargreaves– Glasses are now cool, but when I was a kid, that was not the case. I was always looking for a doll or character that was awkward, loud, a brunette and not a blonde and had not-so-perfect vision with glasses. Enter, the Little Miss series. Specifically, Little Miss Contrary. This book described me even at a young age. What I love about this book series is the simple approach and solution for discussing social behavior with kids.
This weekly series is replacing the Friday Hi-5 Features. Each week we will explore the next five all time favorite and impactful books that have shaped my book DNA. For additional reading recommendations, please review the Book DNA category.