Childhood books that influenced my writing
Looking back on my reading life, I find it interesting to recall the books that influenced me as I grew into a writer. It’s an eclectic collection, seemingly random, but the stories share one thing in common—"What’s going to happen next?" While reading Nancy Drew mysteries goes without saying, I’ve listed some of the other books that offered valuable tips on writing. Here are just a few...
Eloise by Kay Thompson was one of the few books that featured girls as the protagonists. Girls who get into trouble, do mischief, and solve their own problems. That led me to write about girls as lead characters who solve their own mysteries.
Freddy the Detective by Walter Brooks. Freddy was the book that got me excited about solving mysteries at a very young age. I figured if a pig could be sleuth, maybe anyone could solve a mystery. . . even moi?
To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss, not only taught me that playing with words was just plain fun, it also taught me spelling was important. I had to memorize how to spell Seuss (instead of Suess) in order to find his books at the library.
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson showed me how much imagination played a part in creating a story. With my own purple crayon, I could “draw” a story about anything.
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White reminded me how important relationships are in developing a story with depth. The friendship between the two main characters made the story real, even though it was heartbreaking!
Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe, had a huge influence on my love of vicarious adventure. What would I do if I were stranded on an island for years and years? Would I be as resourceful and perseverant as Friday’s boss? Defoe made that island come alive for me.
James Bond by Ian Fleming taught me that a protagonist could survive all kinds of dangers and still live to have another martini.
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank showed me how personal, revealing, and tender a story could be, even when written by such a young writer.
Finally, Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger taught me to search for my own voice, write a realistic, not cardboard, character, and to be subversive.
Labels: childrens books