Books I Am Thankful For

I saw this idea on Tirza’s blog, and thought I’d share my own books I am thankful for. Thank you for spurring this on, Tirza!

So, in my head, I broke it down into three areas: 1.) the first book I can remember reading on my own; 2.) the first “serious” book I can remember reading; and 3.) the first poetry book I can remember reading. In other words, I am thankful to books that got me into the wonderful world of reading, both nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. And in turn, influenced me to not only become a lifelong reader, of course, but to take up the love of writing myself.

The first book I can remember reading on my own: A Child’s First Bible

Photo courtesy of Amazon.

I believe this was the edition, but I could be wrong! This came out in 2000, and it’s by Kenneth N. Taylor. Given I would’ve been 10 when this book came out, my guess is that I’m perhaps wrong about the edition or I’m misremembering the first book I read to myself. To my memory, though, I started reading some version of a children’s Bible, and I was reading the words aloud when my dad gave me one of those helpful hints that stuck: read the words inside your head. What a novel concept! Plus, as a kid, let’s be honest, at least, speaking for myself, I wasn’t thinking too deeply about some of the Biblical stories; they’re just fun! All the animals on the Ark, the Tower of Babel, and Jesus’ birth. They were appealing, both for the pictures and for the simplicity of the stories.

The first ‘serious’ book I remember reading: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, illustrated in color by Peter Fiore

I tried taking a picture of my own, but I kept getting a flash on the cover.

By serious, I mean challenging. My parents gifted me this gorgeous hardcover edition, printed by Children’s Classics in 1992, and it still remains probably the best gift they’ve ever given me given that they ultimately gifted me the love of reading! So, my parents gifting me what at the time was a challenging book (again, my best guess is I would have been in the second grade when given this), and actually being able to read it? I felt so accomplished, and more than any other book I can recall, this made me a lifelong reader. Also, I believe it cemented my love of hardcovers! If I can afford it, I always get the hardcovers.

The first poetry book I can remember reading: Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends

Gotta love the fun drawings, too!

What a classic, timeless book. Even now, I enjoy reading the goofy, but still insightful poems inside. But as a youngster, this poetry book was perfect because it allowed me to fall in love with poetry at a young age, and it was accessible in that way. Poetry didn’t have to be intimidating and it didn’t have to be so serious. It also inspired me to write my own Silverstein-inspired goofy poems, which you can read here. So, again, this also made me into not only being a lifelong reader of poetry (and of course, more so-called “serious” poetry along the way), but I’m still a writer of it.

Now, along the way, other books would prove even more inspiring and pivotal (as I’ve written before about R.L. Stine’s books, Harry Potter, of course, and so on), but I believe these three really helped provide the foundation of my love of reading and my love of poetry, and without either, I couldn’t imagine life.

What books are you thankful for?

Thanks, mom and dad!

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