Hello, my name is Nadine and I’m a bibliophile. It’s not so much a confession as it is a celebration. I love books! The first book I remember really loving was one read to my class in elementary school by our librarian, Mr. Lange, who looked like actor Herschel Bernardi’s television character named Arnie, of the 1970's sitcom of the same name. Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel, told the tale of a Chinese boy with a great long name who fell into a well and was not retrieved quickly enough and became very ill because of that great long name. It was a tale of naughty boys and consequences. I loved the cadence of the words and the tension in the plot. I was intrigued by the Chinese culture, (so mysterious) and the importance of learning a lesson through a story. As an adult, I’ve added to my collection of much-loved Chinese tales; Demi’s The Empty Pot, and The Greatest Treasure, The Fourth Question, by Rosalind C. Wang, Mr. and Mrs. Haktak’s story in Two of Everything by Lily Toy Hong.
As much as I enjoyed listening to stories, I was not a ‘hooked’ reader until several years later. Over the years I enjoyed many teacher’s read alouds. Stories like Charlotte’s Web and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were exciting and fun to listen to. I also was exposed to The Little Prince and Animal Farm, and Jonathan Livingston Seagull, all of which I thought whaaat???
But then, in sixth grade the greatest thing ever happened. Our teacher read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. My life changed. This book was about people like me! I could relate to being from the wrong side of the tracks and fighting for dignity and respect. I had no idea there were gritty books out there like this! NOW I was hooked! It took me until sixth grade to realize books could be more than just sweetness and fluff! They were so much more than I could have ever imagined! The day I checked out Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls, my teacher came to me and asked if she could have it to read to our class. I was dumbstruck! I, Nadine, the awkward quiet one, actually had selected a book the teacher wanted!?! Of course I said yes. She read about Little Ann and Old Dan and we cried.
What story or book changed your life? How did it change you? I'd love to hear about it!