Guest post on your favorite books at ages 5, 11, 16 and 20. If there are any books released in the last few years you wish you had back then, you can talk about that too.
Age 5 – Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak
I’ve never been able to decide which I love more: the illustrations or the actual story. This is a book that has never faded from my memory. There is something about the emotions within those few pages that feel raw and vulnerable, even in the middle where there are no words at all. I think each one of us as a child has felt ashamed or scared or angry at one time or another, and ended up retreating in our own way to a place ‘where the wild things are.’
Age 11 – The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin
Every summer when I was a kid my big sister and I would strap on trusty backpacks and pedal our bikes four miles across town to our favorite place in the world…the library. This was how I came across The Westing Game. After having exhausted Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mysteries but aching for more, this book surprised me; it felt so grown-up: clues, bombs, shady characters, dead bodies, worms, blood… I still think of it every time I hear the song ‘America the Beautiful.’ Written in such a unique, skillful way, The Westing Game was probably the first book to really suck me in until I felt like I was part of the story, which as a kid is truly the best feeling in the world.
Age 16 – Watership Down, by Richard Adams
I’ve never been an ‘animal person,’ though I get the whole cute, best-friend factor. But movies and books about animals (Old Yeller, Black Beauty, etc.) never really did it for me. Perhaps that was why Watership Down took me by surprise (shocked me, was more like it). This was no feel-good, save the animals kind of story. Rather, it was like an action movie with rabbits in the starring roles! Sure, I eventually came to appreciate what this epic tale was really about—but at sixteen all I cared about was that Fiver and friends took me on one heck of an adventure. Rabbits rule!
Age 20 – Harry Potter and the Socerer’s Stone, by JK Rowling
Okay, so technically this book was still inside JK Rowling’s head when I was twenty. But, for a period of time I lost my love for reading. The boy who lived brought it all back to me in full force, and I’ve been running ever since. How does one sum up the genius that is Harry Potter? I don’t believe it is possible, except to say it’s like combining the innocence and imagination and radiance of childhood and rolling it all up into something that feels a little bit like magic.