I love books. Something I always say is the books we read as kids help shape us into who we are as adults. I have found with every book I read, at any point in my life— whether it be fiction, nonfiction, a graphic novel, a memoir, a picture book— this holds true. I take how conflict is resolved in the story or the qualities of the main characters and apply them to my own life in varying degrees. This has helped me find appreciation in different points of views, how to healthily handle and process my emotions, and deal with difficult situations.
Books matter so much to me because they serve as sort of role models, especially stories with strong female protagonists. As people we’re constantly growing and changing, and books can help lead us in the direction of positive change. The stories I’ve read as a kid and as an adult have helped me learn more about the type of person I want to grow to be, and I feel lucky to continue to work with and spread the messages of books that have brought me joy.
Here are some titles I’ve read I find value in, and that helped me become the person I am today:
Thunder Cake written & illustrated by Patricia Polacco
This book is about a grandmother who helps her granddaughter get over her fear of thunderstorms by baking a cake. It taught me about the importance of family, how traditions make one feel more at home/safe, and how to handle scary situations in the moment.
Ida B. by Katherine Hannigan
Ida B. is about a young girl who is homeschooled and lives on her family’s apple farm. When her mother gets sick, she has to adjust to a new life in public school. This book taught me about adjusting to change as a young person while still staying true to who you are.
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Stargirl is new in school, and dresses, talks, and acts differently than everyone else. When she tries to catch the eye of Leo, she struggles with trying to fit in while maintaining her sense of self. This book taught me to be empathetic, open-minded, not care about what anyone thinks, and do my best to be myself.
Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti
I was able to work with this book early on in my career in children’s publishing and it holds a special place in my heart. Heart in a Body in the World showed me the value of having emotional space when dealing with difficult situations.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
When I read this book in high school it made me feel seen. It’s Kind of a Funny Story normalized the pressures of growing up, going to college, and understanding how I fit in and helped me feel like I wasn’t alone.