First Book, a non profit organization with a mission to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books, is celebrating the distribution of their 50 millionth book this summer. To help them celebrate, tell them what book got you hooked 'way back when' and you'll have the chance to share the same magic you once felt with thousands of children in one lucky state. Fill out the entry form chronicling your experience and then vote for a state to receive a donation of 50,000 free books. They’ll post the list of the 50 children’s books with the highest votes in August.
Before they were writing books for children, these authors were inspired by the greats who came before them. Here are their memories:
Author of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
The book that got me hooked was Eloise, by Kay Thompson and illustrated by Hilary Knight! I loved her antics and the way Kay Thompson wrote in run on sentences! And Hilary Knight's art captured the essence of Eloise's delightful character! It inspired me to write my own stories!
Author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar
While I didn't have many books as a child, the experience of reading the funny pages in the newspaper while sitting on my father's lap has stayed with me over the years. This closeness with my father impressed upon me that he loved me and cared about me and that our time together, reading or walking in the woods looking at insects underneath the peeled away bark of a tree, mattered a great deal to him. Sharing books together can provide such important moments for children and their parents or caregivers.
Author and illustrator of Begin at the Beginning
At the risk of being politically incorrect, I'll admit that the volume that got me started on a lifelong love of books was a Dick and Jane reader. This was the first book that I could read in its entirety, and I was thrilled by the experience. Miss Miller had her first graders share their early reading successes with the class, and I remember resisting all efforts to cut me short, as I read aloud the whole, glorious, book.
Author of Mommy?
Many books had profound importance to me, but one memory stands out — I was alone for the first time as a child, waiting for my parents to come home from an evening out, and I sat and read a story by Edgar Allen Poe called The Black Cat. It was dark out and even with my large dog beside me I was scared out of my wits. I was paralyzed with fear — every sound in the house now seemed like impending doom! Wow, I thought, the power of words...