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Since I didn’t write my weekly installment of What’s Playing Wednesday because I have something special up my sleeve and would like to wait until next week to post it, I thought I’d introduce something new. This is a one time post, just to reminisce about the books I grew up reading and how they made me into the reader I am today. I spent many nights with a flashlight, reading under a sheet because it was long after my bedtime and I didn’t want to get in trouble for being up too late.

The first book I ever read by myself was Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik and Maurice Sendak. I loved that book, and continued to read the Little Bear series and then watch the TV show when it came out. It was the first book I ever read to my daughter, and she has now read it and she has developed quite the fondness for reading and is considered advanced for her age. Seriously, every time there is a book fair at her school, my whole family eagerly hands her money because they know how much reading does for children and how important it is for their development, and if there is one thing my parents always encouraged us kids to do, it was read. She just had a book fair recently and she came home with not 1, not 5, but 23 books. She is so my child.
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Some of the other books were series like The Babysitter’s Club, which I often stole from my sister, and my favorite, The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner.
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Their adventures seemed so magical to me and I ate them up. I also read some of R.L. Stein’s Goosebumps series, but I’ll admit they freaked me out. The librarian at my elementary school would give me the catalog for the book fair before it was passed out to the rest of the kids so I’d have time to pick out what I wanted and she could hold them for me. Every Christmas she’d give me a bookmark, and write a message on the back like, “Keep up your love for reading!” and I still have all of them. I’m ashamed to say I don’t remember her name, but her encouragement and her holding books for me and being such a cheerleader for my love of reading absolutely was a contributing factor that lead to my life long relationship with books.
My parents have always encouraged my reading habit as well. Any time we’d go to the mall, I’d request to go to the bookstore while my mom did her shopping and she’d find me in the bookstore after having finished her shopping with arms full of books and books being held for me at the counter. The people who worked there knew me by name and would laugh at the stack of books I’d rack up during my visits. My mom could come in, tell me to narrow it down to the ones I just HAD to have, which didn’t narrow the stacks down much, laugh and pay for the stacks of books and I’d walk out holding my mom’s hand, practically skipping and filled wth joy and excitement because I had books to read that would lead me on adventures, and take me on trips to magical worlds.

One of the first real YA authors I remember reading was Sarah Dessen. I read That Summer and was hooked. I’ve remained a loyal fan since and have read everything she’s ever written. I read it when I was about 9 or 10, and was taken by the way she told the story and how beautiful it was. I was probably a little young for it, but I was hungry for more and read Someone Like You and I knew I would read every word this woman would ever write.
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Sarah Dessen led me to discover Ann Brashares and her lovely books, which led to a love for Young Adult Fiction that I still, at age 28, have not been able to shake.
Sarah Dessen was where it all started, so from reader to author, THANK YOU!

Somewhere in there I started a love affair with Mary Higgins Clark books and I am still a loyal reader of hers as well. The first I ever read was Loves Music, Loves To Dance, which horrified and excited me at the same time and I knew I had to read more. I have every book she has ever written, aside from her Christmas novels, and am still amazed at her ability to write such amazing novels despite having written so many.
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There are so many authors who I have to thank for inspiring my love of books, but these are the main players. Thank you authors for your contribution to my childhood, adolescence, and now my continued love for books as an adult.

Hope you all enjoyed this little walk down memory lane, and continue to follow the blog, or leave comments telling me about your favorites as a kid. Be sure to follow my Books, Music, and All Things Written Facebook Page or follow me on Twitter to keep up with all my posts.

Happy reading, and Merry Christmas!
Erin

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