05 April 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things

Last month when I was here I talked about my good luck in landing a temporary job at an elementary school library. I just finished my first full week, and I LOVE IT. I mean, I get to read to children AND help introduce them to books they might not have read before. The fact that I know so many of the newer authors helps too :).

It's gotten me thinking. I know a lot of romance authors talk about the romance writers they read when they were younger that inspired them to write romance. I'm not a big romance reader, but I did read a lot when I was younger, and when I look back, it's not really surprising that many of my favorite books were of a fantasy bend. So I thought I'd list a few of my favorite childhood books :

The Witches, Roald Dahl: I think I took this book out of the library about a million times when I was in elementary school. Even better than Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I adored this book. I mean, what's not to love about a group of bald women with no toes who turn children into rats? This is classic children's entertainment!

A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L'Engle: My copy, which is probably in a box in my father's attic, is yellowed and dog-eared. Actually I love the whole series, but the first was the best, and not just because the first book begins, "It was a dark and stormy night". I identified with Meg in a big way, although I had something in common with Charles Wallace too. I rooted for her through the whole series. As an adult, I cherish the fact the book was rejected something like 23 times, often for being "too sci-fi" for the children's market.

The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin: Another that I took home many times from my school library, this little novel has such great plot twists that it never got old. I actually have a copy here in my home library and I read it from time to time to remind myself how great it is. It's a mystery, not a fantasy, but if you've read any of the Library of Athena books, you know how I love a good mystery.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E.L. Konigsburg: Not strictly fantasy, also more of a mystery, but a fabulous adventure story. Who wouldn't want to hide out in a museum? I was so happy when I discovered this was being re-issued last year in a new edition that I pre-ordered a copy from Amazon. It totally deserved the Newberry Award that it won.

These are just four that I think of fondly, but there were SO many more - books by Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary and other authors I can't think of, but when I see the covers I get a warm feeling of happiness. Books were a big part of my childhood, and I'm so glad that I get the chance not only to write books that they love, but to help them (at least for a little while) discover new worlds to explore.

I'd like to give a quick shout-out to my fellow inkslingers over at The Enchanted Inkpot. It's a new community of children's and young adult fantasy writers. Stop by and say hi!

(and just one month until The Ankh of Isis comes out in paperback! I've submitted the third book in the series to my fantabulous Samhain editor - just waiting to hear now!)
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