Some Favorite Childhood Books: Anno's Counting Book by Anno Mitsumasa; The Boxcar Children #1 by Gertrude Chandler; From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Some Favorite Middle School Books: The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley; The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley; To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Some Favorite High School Books: Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel; Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Random fact #2:
When I read books that take place in England, I read to myself in a (very bad) British accent. I've done this with (among others):
Random fact #3:
I often pride myself on my good memory, but I have an uncanny ability to forget the endings of books I read. Not always a good trait, but at least I can I enjoy reading the same book over and over again. Go ahead -- ask me the ending to any book I've read. Not to brag, but I probably won't remember it!
Random fact #4:
The old adage says "Don't judge a book by its cover," but I often do. I enjoy good, well-illustrated and -designed covers. In another life I might have pursued a career in graphic design and gone into the children's book design business. No wonder I find Chad Beckerman's job fascinating; he's the Creative Director at Abrams Books for Young Readers, Amulet, and Abrams ComicsArts. He oversees the design of books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, NERDS by Michael Buckley, and Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk. Check out his blog to see the progression of the cover design for Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies by Andrea Beatty or the printing of The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney. Also, Book By Its Cover is a nice website featuring book cover designs.
The picture book that brought me back to children's literature is The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka. It was a birthday gift from a friend when I turned 17. From middle school until I turned 17 I mostly read books geared toward an adult audience. I'd forgotten the joys of children's literature; honestly, it probably made me feel more grown-up to only read adult fiction. But The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales made me laugh and it was so clever I had to rethink my ideas about children's literature. The chapter book that caught me hook, line, and sinker, so to speak, was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, which I read in 1999. I remember distinctly purchasing it at Best Buy, of all places (I still have that copy too). Ever since, my interest in children's literature -- be it picture books or chapter books -- has grown. Not surprisingly, the birth of my son also contributed to my growing interest. Now you can't stop me from reading children's literature!
[ That's the actual copy of The Stinky Cheese Man my friend gave me in 1993. It sits on one of my bookshelves at home dedicated to children's literature. (And mind you, those picture books and chapter books are mine, not my children's!) -->]