Discussion: What Book Made Me a Reader?

I’m not exactly sure where I saw this question, but I’ve been thinking about it for a few weeks now. And if truth be told I didn’t have to dig deep for the answer.

I could have chosen good ole Dr. Seuss, but he didn’t really make me a reader. He did spark my interest in reading. I could site Clifford the Big Red Dog or The Berenstain Bears or Curious George or any number of books I devoured, but none of them made me a reader. The book that me me a reader without a shadow of a doubt was Judy Blume’s Iggie’s House.

Summary:

Iggie’s house just wasn’t the same. Iggie was gone, moved to Tokyo. And there was Winnie, cracking her gum on Grove Street, where she’d always lived, with no more best friend and two weeks left of summer.

Then the Garber family moved into Iggie’s house — two boys, Glenn and Herbie, and Tina, their little sister. The Garbers were black and Grove Street was white and always had been. Winnie, a welcoming committee of one, set out to make a good impression and be a good neighbor. That’s why the trouble started.

Glenn and Herbie and Tina didn’t want a “good neighbor.” They wanted a friend.

So, how did this book make me a reader?

Well this was me. When my family (mom, dad, sister & me) moved to our neighborhood we were one of 5 black families in a neighborhood of 200 homes and counting. It was made perfectly clear in 1978 that we were not welcomed. Tolerated but not welcomed. So, Iggie’s House hit home.

I remember my next door neighbor Kelly who was a couple of years older than me, befriended me; which was cool. We had some fun times together. I went to Summer Bible Camp with her. We had sleep overs, painted each other nails and put tried to put on makeup. She got me involved in the Girl Scouts (by far my least favorite thing we’d ever done together). Sorry Girl Scouts of America.

Anyway, I remember going over to Kelly’s house, knocking on the door and her father answering and him glaring at me. I didn’t know it until later that he didn’t like me or my family for that matter because we were black. Kelly’s mom on the other hand was super friendly and was the catalyst for a lot of the interactions Kelly and I had.

I still remember the day Kelly told me that she was moving. She came over, knocked on the door crying and spilled it. We hugged and cried and vowed to keep in touch; which we did for a while. But like everything we grew up and grew apart and communication slowly came to an end.

After Iggie’s House, I read Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Blubber, Then Again, Maybe I Won’t, Deenie, Forever and yes they are all by Judy Blume. My mom had to get me off Judy Blume and onto something else; which wasn’t terribly hard, since I’d been bitten by the reading bug. Every week we would head up to the Bookmobile and I’d return a book and check out another. Oh my goodness! Those were the days.

What book made you a reader?

7 thoughts on “Discussion: What Book Made Me a Reader?

  1. This is so sweet! I’m glad that relatable book got you into reading ❤ I don't think a particular book got me into reading. In fact, I think I started reading because I wanted to be a rebel, LOL. I'm born in an Indian family and though my family is an expat and we haven't lived in India, it was evident that majority of my family limited 'reading' to reading course books and just studying. And I loved studying but my school library was gorgeous and I began reading those picture books that kids always read and slowly went into reading fictional stories and stuff. My parents in particular were supportive but my cousins still ask me 'how can you imagine the story when you can't see it?' LIKE WHATTT??! *frustrated sigh* Amazing post, though, Erica ❤

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  2. I read a bunch of the other Judy Blume books (I think the one that made the most impression on me was Blubber, because I was a pudgy child who got teased a lot) but not this one. I can’t remember a single particular book that made me a reader, but the Oz books were ones I read over and over. Hence the name of my blog! 🙂

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  3. Funny story. I just wrote a very similar discussion post to this one about the books that made me into the reader I am today. You can check it out at the Goldilox and the Three Weres blog if you want. 🙂 The book that made me a reader was definitely Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword though! It was everything I had never known could be in a book.

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  4. I can’t remember if there was one book which encouraged me to read, but I do remember the book shelves in our house full of books I always yearned to read, but was always told they weren’t suitable. Eventually I was allowed to read my first book from the shelf, A Town Called Alice, but it was years later.

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  5. Pingback: The Sunday Post #36: Weekly Update – 4/02/2018 | Drink Coffee and Read books

  6. Cool that there were/are people like Kelly’s mom. It’s a shame that there are still too many like her dad.

    The first book, or book series, that made an impression were the books in Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain series. I always thought that I was Taran, and they introduced me to fantasy.

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