Friday, October 26, 2012

How Books Influenced Me To Do Things In Real Life

Books have influenced my life a lot. The other day when I saw Willow and Twig by Jean Little on a library shelf, I was reminded just how much.


When I was in probably grade four or five, my best friend and I both ended up reading Willow and Twig. We fell in love with the book and the characters. But we especially fell in love with the character of Red Mouse. Red Mouse was an imaginary friend that Willow had in her head and that she would talk to. It was basically a fictional version of her own thoughts.

Well, my friend and I liked this idea so much that we created our own imaginary friends stuck inside our heads. I think hers was a fish, and mine was a mouse named Rascal. I'm pretty sure I "talked" to him even in middle school sometimes.

I also ended up writing a picture book based on the character Red Mouse (one of the only two pieces of fanfiction I've ever written, incidentally - the other one was Bionicles fanfiction, which you can read here).

Then I was reminded of the Babysitters Club Books. My friend and I went crazy over these books. We tried to set up a BSC library, which was just a painted cardboard box that we were going to stuff all of the BSC books that we could get ahold of inside. We also tried to set up our own babysitter's club (unforunately at the conception of this idea, we were too young to babysit).

These things kind of just make me think of how strong of an influence books can have. I think they're a lot more powerful than we sometimes think they are.

What are some ways books have influenced you to do things in real life? Also, if you haven't read Willow and Twig yet, go do that! It is a beautiful book, and just looking at the cover brings back warm memories of reading it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

More Books I Want You To Love

Today one of my friends bugged me about blogging, and noted how I haven't  posted in a while. This is because basically the only blogging rule I have is Blog When I Have A Really Cool Idea I Can't Stop Thinking About. (Yeah, I think I need some new rules...)

So, I still don't have any shiny idea for a blog post, but since this is mainly a reading and writing blog, I'm just going to talk about the books I've been reading.

1. The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling
by Maryrose Wood

If you've ever seen Nanny McPhee, you will kind of get the gist of the style and storyline of this book. There's a group of unusual kids who need to be taught to behave, and a young person comes in and teaches them. The kids are unusual because until recently, they've been raised by wolves. The premise is great, but the actual story is quite a bit slower than you'd expect.

It wasn't a book that changed my life, but the style of it felt so classic (a la The Chronicles of Narnia almost) that I enjoyed it heartily. It felt like I was reading an old friend. Also, the main character and the wolf children's nanny, Penelope Lumley, was one of the most unique, fresh characters I've ever read. She was not a stereotype in any way, and that was AWESOME.

Anyway, this book was really enjoyable and in my opinion it would be a great book to read aloud to kids.

2. Savvy
by Ingrid Law

This book is technically MG, I think, but I don't think elementary or middle school kids could get the depth out of it that teens or adults could. This book was absolutely amazing. I was close to tears by the end. The premise of the book is that there is this family with these things called "savvies", which are basically just special powers - one of the boys has the power to control the weather in a way, another has power over electricity.

However, even though the story is based around these savvies, that isn't the focus of the story (if that makes any sense). It's not a story about special powers; it's a story about family and friendship and prejudices and judgementalism and standing up and believing in yourself and... now it sounds sappy but the way Ingrid Law writes it, it is BEAUTIFUL. Please go read it. Now!

3. True (...sort of)
by Katherine Hannigan

This book starts off with a quirky girl, Delly, getting into trouble all the time even though she doesn't really mean to. I wasn't sure about this book at the beginning, but in the end it is a beautiful book with numerous intertwined stories of brokenness that together make something heart-achingly wonderful. This is another book that almost made me cry. It is amazing how dealing with so much hurt can be written about so wonderfully in a book for children. Also, this quote, that Delly's brother RB says to her:

"She's my favourite friend," he said. "You're my favourite everything."


I really, really encourage you to check out these books, because they are absolutely lovely.


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