My bookprint: Reading at the dinner table

Meet Joanne Corrielus, the fall intern in Scholastic's Corporate Comunications department.

From the time that I was a young girl, my parents instilled in me a love for reading. I can vividly remember as a toddler, waking up from naps to ask my parents how to pronounce a word from whichever book I had woken up to read. I think by the fourth or fifth time of interrupting nap time, my parents realized that this was just the beginning of my obsession with books. I of course, lived up to this expectation by becoming a daily patron at our local library, insisting that my parents buy me every book in my sight–including the ones in the Scholastic catalog—and much to my parents dismay, bringing my books along as guests to our kitchen table for dinner.

Although my parents weren’t happy with my choice of dinner guests, they always encouraged me to read as much as I could and to step out of my comfort zone. Because of this, I’ve read more books than I can count and compiling this list of books has proven to be quite difficult. Here are the top five books that have impacted my life:

  1. Istwa Konpè Kabrit ak Konpè Kodenn by Maude Heurtelou
    You might be a little confused when you look at this title but it actually translates to The Goat and the Turkey in Haitian-Creole. Throughout my childhood and even now, I have struggled to read, write, and speak in my parents’ native language. One day when I was in the fourth or fifth grade, I stumbled upon the foreign language section at my local library. As I browsed the shelves, I noticed that this children’s book was in Haitian-Creole. I decided that it was of the upmost importance to bring this book home to show my parents. What was supposed to be an impromptu show-and-tell, turned into me actually reading and understanding what was written in a language that for years had seemed so mysterious to me. This particular book taught me how to embrace and love a very important part of my cultural identity.
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    When I was in the eighth grade, I had the pleasure of reading To Kill a Mockingbird. Over the years, I’ve read it several times and even watched the movie adaption. Nevertheless, this book never gets old and with each new reading of it, I take away something new from it. To me, this book is truly a classic because it touches on many subjects from racial injustice to gender roles. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from To Kill a Mockingbird is that no one is inherently good or evil. We all have good and bad qualities but it’s up to us to take the good with the bad and try to understand one another.
  3. Eat, Pray, and Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
    Over the summer, I finally got to read this book, which is something I wanted to do since I saw the commercial for its movie adaption, years ago. This book tells the story of how a woman, Elizabeth Gilbert, who has recently divorced, decides to take a year off and travel to three different countries, in order to find herself. This book taught me that the most important thing you can do for yourself is to be at peace with who you are. When you are happy with yourself, you can tackle anything that life throws at you.
  4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
    After years of avoiding this book, I’m glad to be currently reading it for my English class. I always assumed that this book would be boring and hard to understand since it was written in the 19th century. Thankfully, I was wrong and I’m enjoying every minute of reading about Jane Eyre’s life. This book is a bildungsroman, so we get to see Jane’s development from a young child to an adult woman. Although I haven’t finished it yet, this book has reminded me of a lesson I learned a long time ago: not to judge a book by its cover. Just weeks ago, I approached this book with preconceived notions, assuming that I would hate it, but now it might actually turn out to be one of the most memorable books I’ve ever read.
  5. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
    My all-time favorite book has to be A Tale of Two Cities, which I read during my freshman year of high school. One of the reasons why I’m obsessed with this book is because of its alternating settings – one minute I’m in France, the next I’m in London. This novel provides readers with two stories in one book. The two stories ultimately intertwine and it’s interesting to see how that happens. I also love this book because of the French phrases that are thrown in here and there. For six years of my educational career, I studied French and it was refreshing to be able to understand these phrases and figures of speech without having to pick up my dictionary. This book also taught me about the French Revolution, which wasn’t something that was really touched on in school. It was my first introduction to this event and I will always remember this book because of that.