Ten Books

One of the latest fads making the rounds of Facebook are lists of ten books that touched the reader and left an indelible impression. Like one of my friends, I couldn’t do it without thought as the instructions said. I had to think about it.  I also needed to do a bit of commentary so I’m including it in this blog rather than just making a list. Needless to say, I have far more than ten, but these represent books that have remained with me long after the reading is over and sometimes bring me back to read again.

1. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
    This is my personal favorite book of all time, but I add to my own pleasure the wonderful memories of sharing it with eighth graders as a read aloud.

2. Little Women by Louisa Mae Alcott
    I lost track of how many times I read this, my favorite book as I grew up. The family, like mine, had four girls. However, the personalities were out of order. In my family, I am the oldest, but I was Jo, joyfully scribbling away.

3. Part of Me by Kimberly Willis Holt
    This is another book where I became the character. This lifetime story of Rose has so many things from mine – wonderful rural people, the bookmobile, and Rose’s love of words and story.

4. Jacob, Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson
    I’ve read and loved most, if not all, of Katherine Paterson’s books, but this one is my favorite with its redemption of the daughter who has assumed the unfavorite role.

5. All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
    Herein lies another family of four girls to whom I could relate – surprising since I grew up in rural North Mississippi, daughter of a Baptist pastor, and this is a turn-of-the-century New York Jewish family. Ella and I both had mothers who believed daughters were for dusting furniture!

6. The Surrender Tree by Margarita Engle
    This book introduced me to the work of the author, of whom I have become a fan. To be able to tell a wonderful historical story in poetry is an amazing thing.     

7. A Bus of Our Own by Freddi Williams Evans
    Based on a true story from her own family, Freddi weaves a “lemonade from lemons” picture book of African Americans figuring out a way for their children to have a school bus in pre-Civil Rights Mississippi.

8. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
    This one is just for the fun it brings – still.

9.  Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor
    This book also has sharing connections, first with my daughter when it was her sixth grade school assignment, and then with my junior high students as a read aloud. What good conversations it has triggered!

10. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
    I loved The Snowy Day first with my own children and with my kindergarten and second grade students. In more recent days, its importance to the world of children’s literature has been magnified as I have had the pleasure of researching the man and his books at the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection.

I know, I’ve omitted a lot of wonderful books, but I’ll stick with this list and let you tell me what you think I left out.