Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Introduction Or So You Know the Qualifications of the Author

About the author: I am a senior illustration major with minors in art history and creative writing at the Maryland Institute College of Art.  I was born and raised in a boring little town in Upstate New York that didn’t get a bookstore until I went away to college.  But that’s the simple stuff.  

As a child, I memorized Madeline so that I could recite it as if I were reading.  My first baby doll was named Mickey after the Sendak character, and television wasn't exactly present in my childhood.  When I was two and a half and my baby brother was brought home from the hospital, I surrounded him with books and told him stories all day.  Later, my mother read my brother and me Narnia and the Enchanted Forest Chronicles while we drew pictures of the characters, illustrating the book as she read.  I didn't learn how to read until second grade, which is considered late for public educations (though not other forms of education).  But once I began it was Oz and Little House and Anne of Green Gables.  

I spent my elementary school years reading until way past my bedtime through the careful concealment of flashlights and timing the click of my reading lamp to coincide with the creak of my parent's steps on the stairs.In third grade, I became a part of a mother daughter book club with four other girls and their mothers.  The club lasted through my tenth grade year of high school.  The club was a wonderful chance to have truly stimulating conversations about books (unlike those had in school).  Note: entries marked with * indicate the book was read with mother-daughter book club. 

In fifth grade my copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets circulated the class.  In middle school, I taught myself the art of reading under desks and convincing school librarians that I needed new books regardless of whether or not they had been cataloged.  I read the school copy of the Amber Spyglass before it had a label and plastic cover and, unfortunately for exams, Abhorsen just had to be had the day it was released (though in my small town this required a thirty-minute drive on the highway to the new bookstore.  Before, it was an hour.)  High school brought about reading on top of desks (no one seemed to care), and Herbert’s epic DUNE was devoured above-desk during math.  

Since middle school I have been asked for recommendations and I soon found it easiest to create a master list of books.  This list is the updated and edited version of that original list, though it is by no means complete or completely accurate.  I generally edit the list for the particular person I am giving it to, based upon tastes, reading level, and maturity, but here it is in its entirety.  This list includes things found in children’s through adult.  I cannot make judgments on what is right for you or your child, but I can make suggestions.  If you are considering this list in regards to your children, the only way to know what’s good for them is to read the book yourself and discuss it with them.  

I am currently studying children’s illustration (combining my love of writing and art).  Additionally, I have been working on my minor’s thesis, which studies the current phenomenon of crossover fiction (books which are read by both children and adults).  I was unsurprised during my research to find that the current vogue of crossover literature was founded on the books I devoured during my middle and high school years- many are to be found in the list.  It is this thesis, and the urging of my classmates, that has finally pushed me to post this list.

WARNING: I am not to be blamed for resultant reading under desks, procrastination, or deterioration in sight due to reading with flashlights.  Note for flashlight readers: I was told, in middle school, by my optician, that reading in low light for long periods of time without looking up can strain one’s eyes.  While I’m not entirely sure of the validity of this statement, I can tell you that I have a classic bookworm’s eyes.  Beware.   

No comments:

Post a Comment