I created a Pinterest board to pay homage to the books that influenced me from the moment I could string together letters and form words. As a lifelong reader, I’ve probably read thousands of books, but there are specific stories or characters you never forget.
The first books, after primers, that I can remember reading over and over were: The Cat in the Hat Dictionary, Go, Dog, Go, and The Book of Riddles. I kept checking the same three books out of the library for most of the school year.
In second grade I discovered biographies, like Pocahontas, Betsy Ross, Molly Pitcher,and my favorite, Dolley Madison. When I read each one at least twice, a friend reached up and pulled a book off the shelf and handed it to me. She told me I would probably like it since I liked reading about “olden times.” The book was Little House in the Big Woods.
Wasn’t it always a bonus when you discovered a great character or a very prolific author? I read my way through The Little House Series and others like, Betsy, Star, Eddie and the twins in Carolyn Haywood’s series of books. I devoured every Beverly Cleary book, and then discovered Betsy-Tacy, by Maud Hart Lovelace.
Betsy Ray was my idol. She wrote and told stories to her friends and family, just like me!
Betsy’s best chums loved acting out her fantastic ideas and stories. My friends loved doing the same!
When Betsy entered Deep Valley High School I longed to be part of her “Crowd.”
Thanks Betsy, for giving me the courage to write when I had no one to encourage me. Thanks Laura and all the other pioneer women from the past who taught me that women are important, powerful, and can shape history.
Thanks Dr. Suess and P. D. Eastman for showing me how to look closely at details, and laugh often at life’s jokes.