Notes From Crew Quarters: Growing Up Reading
This week, Ethan Brightbill asked our staff what their favorite books were as children.
Ashley Adams, Associate Nonfiction Editor Emeritus
I owned almost all the Animorphs books growing up. I blame the Applegate estate for my intense love of body horror.
Willow Grosz, Managing Editor
The Secret Garden and the Dealing With Dragons series and Anne of Green Gables and anything by Robin McKinley and The Far Side and The Perilous Gard and anything by Dr. Seuss and Little Women and Fear Street and Calvin and Hobbes and any story my dad and I told each other on road trips.
Lizzie Michael, Associate Nonfiction Editor
My favorite piece of literature as a child was the dust jacket gag from Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography.
Jackson Keller, Associate Fiction Editor
I remember reading a lot of those Goosebumps choose your own adventure books, but I can't remember anything about them now except that one was called Attack of the Purple Peanut Butter or something. Truly a literary marvel.
Mike Berry, Associate Nonfiction Editor
Richard Peck's A Long Way From Chicago and A Year Down Yonder. They both follow a young girl who visits her backwoods Grandma in the Depression-era South. A scene from one of the books where the characters make soap at home still haunts me.
Jacob Hall Associate Fiction Editor
I grew up on Narnia. It made Lev Grossman all the more rewarding.
Jacqueline Boucher, Managing Editor
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. & John Archambault, and Fog by Susie Gregg Fowler & Jim Fowler were incredibly important to me when I was younger. Also, I accidentally read something incredibly graphic in a James Patterson novel (Roses are Red, maybe?) when I was WAY too young to be reading something incredibly graphic in a James Patterson novel. I'm not going to say that was a favorite, but it was certainly formative, she said, putting the finishing touches on her murder monster poem thesis. That was because of my dad. ...My thesis is also largely because of/for my dad, so I guess it all works out in the end.
Brenna Womer, Associate Fiction Editor
I really liked this book my mom read to me when I was super young that showed pictures of faces expressing various emotions. There was this page with a crying baby, and whenever we got to that page I would always cry too. Eventually, my mom started trying to skip that page, but by that point I knew when it was supposed to show up, so I'd protest until she'd flip to the page so I could cry with the baby.
Jennifer A. Howard, Editor-in-Chief
According to a recent decluttering session, I learned to steal from better writers by copying the story of Corduroy and his lost button into my Farrah Fawcett notebook and signing my name to it.
Liz Trueblood, Intern
My mom read me and my sisters a series of books–The Enchanted Forest Chronicles–about a princess named Cimorene who refuses to be proper, so she runs away to live with dragons. I believe those books played a role in turning me into the angry feminist I am today
Hayli Cox, Associate Nonfiction Editor
I loved my dad's Anne McCaffrey audio book series The Dragonriders of Pern. I spent some time with Harry Potter as well as Mrs. Frisbie and the Rats of Nimh, and I remember repeatedly reading and trying to understand Watership Down at eight or nine. Before that I read a book given to me free by the humane society called Jasmine. It's a narrative in rhyme about a kitty abandoned in an apartment when her family moved.
Sara Ryan, Associate Poetry Editor
I was obsessed with Tamora Pierce's The Song of the Lioness series and The Protector of the Small series. Both of them were about a girl aspiring to be a knight and pretending to be a boy as she climbed the ranks of knighthood and kicked everyone's asses. Serious girl power. Those, and the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. Because small rodents with swords.
E. Flores, Associate Poetry Editor
Animorphs or nothing.
Alexander Clark, Associate Nonfiction Editor
The Fear Street novels...they were like Goosebumps but for teens (11 year olds) and they were American Horror Story Lite.
Tianli Kilpatrick Associate Nonfiction Editor
I loved Tamora Pierce's The Immortals series because they were about a girl who could speak with animals and shape shift into their forms. I also loved Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quintet (A Wrinkle in Time) for their fantasy way of addressing good vs. evil, conformity, and truth.
Krys Malcolm Belc, Associate Fiction Editor
Matilda! And I have the tattoo to prove it!