“What was your favorite book to read as a child?” It’s a daunting question for a person that loves to read. As a child that moved often, a shelf of favorite books was a constant in our newest home. I loved Judy Blume’s books; especially The One in Middle is the Green Kangaroo, Blubber, and Are You There God It’s Me Margaret. These books were funny and insightful to my child brain. I also loved the Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Super Mysteries, where the detectives teamed up together to solve mysteries. One of the best was the first Double Crossing in the series involving the detectives trying to figure out who was selling CIA secrets on the cruise ship. Through the adventures in these novels, I was able to explore the world.
Another favorite was Kid Power by Susan Beth Pfeffer. This book was inspiring to me because Janie, the main character, decided to complete some odd jobs around her neighborhood in the hopes of bringing in extra money for her family. She advertised, became an entrepreneur, and when her business grew beyond her capabilities, she hired others to help her complete the jobs. To this day I remember how Janie and her friends learned to keep bugs out of the garden — a concoction of fruit juice, water, and sugar that attracts the bugs away from the plants. The bugs fall in the jar and drown in the sugary mix. Currently, I have a sugary mix in a mason jar in my East Nashville backyard… the insects fly in and never get out!
Looking back at this list helps me to see that many of the stories were about perseverance and finding solutions to problems—as a child, that knowledge was instrumental to my development. Persistence and creativity for problem solving are important to accomplishing one’s goals in life.
Now, as a parent and as a teacher, my favorite books to read aloud to children are in the same vein. I love picture books like Something Beautiful by Sharon Dennis Wyeth or The Pirate of Kindergarten by George Ella Lyons. For longer read aloud books, I turn to How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O’Connor or The Family Under the Bridge by Ann M. Martin.
But my very favorite book of all time to read aloud is the one that a child hands me.