We decided to do something a little different for September! While we still posted our TBRs yesterday, this month is National Literacy Month! National Literacy Month is dedicated to encouraging the young people in your life to go to the library, pick up a good book, and explore new worlds. To commemorate it, we asked the LQ writers what books first spurred their love of reading. And did they go crazy! Read on below – I’ve even included special comments that LQ writers contributed to OTHERS’ selections here, we were so excited! Oh, and please tell us about the books you first read that sparked your bookish love in the comments below.
Here’s what we’re thinking about for National Literacy Month…
Like many, I grew up with bedtime stories, and I had The Wind in the Willows read to me at least 100 times! I then proceeded to convince my mother that I’d actually take baths if she would read to me. Double the stories! She and I have probably read every Saddle Club book Bonnie Bryant has ever written!
When I was able to read on my own, I devoured any new Saddle Club title in addition to other series of my day. This includes lots mentioned here, including Boxcar Children, Dear America, Redwall, and others! I think it was literally staying up all night to read The Goblet of Fire that solidified my future as a lifelong reader though. I am so appreciative that my parents let me have the freedom to be consumed by books.
Megan: I just bought 4 of The Saddle Club books for my niece (turning 11) who loves reading and recently got really into horses! I loved them as a kid… hope she does too!
Caleigh: As a horse girl this makes me VERY happy. The Saddle Club books are amazing. They are followed by the more mature Pine Hollow series, which is equally as wonderful. The Saddle Club basically grew up with me.
When I was a kid, I somehow stumbled on to the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. I have extremely strong memories of going to Chapters (our Barnes & Noble here in the wintry north, now called Indigo Books) and selecting the newest Redwall book. I would return home with it, DESTROY the spine (they are monstrously thick small paperbacks, it couldn’t be helped) and devour Jacques’ characters and writing. Most notably, the Redwall series has pages of feast descriptions, which has also inspired my interest and love of foodie culture today. I started with Mossflower, but the beginning of the series is a little murky. As a result, there are a few different books you can start the series with. My favourite? Salamadastron, which is set away from Redwall’s abbey at the badger castle, in a fight against evil.
Also, I have to say, I read the newest Harry Potter book OUT LOUD every summer to my siblings. If that’s not literary dedication, I honestly can’t say what is!
Becky: I was a huge fan of Redwall. I’m currently collecting the whole series…
I credit my mom (and my inner bookishness) for instilling a love for books and reading in me at a very young age. We’d always have bedtime stories as little kids, and as I got a bit older, my mom started reading me her Trixie Belden books that she loved as a girl. Every night, I looked forward to hearing the next chapter. What would that group of kids get in to next?
As I grew and started reading more on my own, I fell in love with the Dear America series and The Babysitter’s Club, as well as Ramona Quimby, The Boxcar Children, and, well, pretty much anything else. I’d ride my bike to the library constantly to peruse the chapter books section! I couldn’t get enough.
Now that I’m a mom, I can’t wait to hand my daughter as many books as possible as she grows!
Although my mom and dad aren’t prolific readers, they made sure I had access to as many books as I wanted while I was growing up. My earliest memories of reading involve frequent trips to library with my mom and sitting on my dad’s lap with a stack of books next to us after he got home from work. He tended to fall asleep on the couch, so I often sat there and learned to turn the pages myself. I stole into my brother’s room and devoured his collection of The Boxcar Children series. He had the coolest bed with a bookshelf as the headboard and it was filled with those books. I was so eager to find out what adventure the four siblings would encounter next.
As I got older, my reading life took off due to an English teacher in middle school who introduced me to Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods. From there, I ventured on to John Grisham, Stephen King, Michael Crichton and as many other books as I could find throughout high school. I read even more now than I did as a teenager, but I’m so grateful to the influence of my parents and a select few teachers who saw my passion and nurtured it!
Rebecca: I loved The Magic Treehouse series and was a big fan of the Boxcar Children as well!!
I have loved reading for as long as I can remember. I was lucky enough to have a mom who led by example and encouraged my habits. One of my favorite weekend activities was a trip to the bookstore, which was the only place she always bought me something.
I read voraciously — pretty much anything I could get my hands on — and I loved series. One day, I discovered Nancy Drew in one of my grandma’s closets. Subsequently, I read through those as quickly as I could! I picked up my first copy of The Babysitters Club at a Scholastic Book Fair and was instantly hooked. I still remember both series fondly.
I was fortunate enough to have been surrounded by people who encouraged me to read from a very young age. My dad would read classics with me such as Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and my mom is such an avid reader that she can finish a book and start a new one in the same amount of time it takes for me to turn a page!
As I got older and went to school, my teachers encouraged me to read more, from a variety of genres. So, I did just that! I filled my boots with stories like The Magic Treehouse Series, C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, Gordon Korman’s Complete Dive Trilogy, Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, and Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins. As a result I learned to love books indiscriminately. And while my tastes may have changed over the years, my love of reading has only gotten stronger. I am so grateful to my family and my magnificent teachers for exposing me to the many wonderful worlds that writers work so hard to create. Happy National Literacy Month, everyone!
More Information on National Literacy Month
If you are looking for events and ways to get #inspired for NLM, now is the time to do so! Let us know in the comments if you find something great, and of course please share your book selections that have fueled your love of reading!