Skip to main content

What Book Made You Love Reading?


I remember loving my third grade classroom so much. Maybe that's why I taught third grade for 13 years. It was where I really discovered my love of reading and when I was able to really delve into the story part, not just the word calling. By the time I reached fifth grade I was an avid reader. I'd gone through all the SRA lab colors (if you grew up in American public schools in the 80's you remember SRA reading lab) and was always looking for something new to devour. My teacher let us have free reading time often and she had several books that were part of a series called Sunfire. Each one featured a girl living through a different historical time period and she always had two loves to choose from. They were always polar opposites and the heroine had to decide where her heart lay. 

Susannah by Candice F. Ransom was the first one I read. I still own my old copy and have probably read it a dozen times over the years. I remember being mesmerized by the cover. Her dress, the handsome young men on their horses, the flowers, and even her hair flying in the breeze. Susannah was a young girl living during the Civil War. She was from the South, like me, and her family owned a plantation in Virginia. She watches her beloved state go up in flames around her throughout the war, loses her brother and childhood friend in battle, and falls in love with a Yankee soldier. She notices the growing distance between her and Katie, the daughter of a slave family working on the plantation, and for the first time starts to understand that slavery is wrong. This was also one of my first interactions with a book that really discussed the dark side of slavery in a way a child could understand without being too graphic. The novel describes all aspects of the Civil War including the economy, major local battles, and the hospital atmosphere as wounded soldiers made their way in for treatment. Susannah must decide whether or not to run away with Cain, the handsome Yankee soldier, or stay in the South as it tries to recover. 

This book was Gone With the Wind for kids. But like I said, it tackled the issue of slavery and didn't gloss over it because it was written in 1984, when authors were more likely to include those details. After finishing Susannah, I went on to read almost all of the Sunfire books, and one appeared in my stocking for several years afterward. They are out of print, which is a real shame, but you can buy used copies. The first one, Kathleen, about an Irish maid living in Boston in the 1800's was selling used for almost $100 last time I checked, signifying their ongoing timelessness and popularity.

This book MADE me a reader. It is the first book I really, really connected with. Recently, I found the author on Facebook and contacted her. I told her I was now a reading interventionist and how much her books meant to me in developing a love of reading. She is now in her 70's and was thrilled to hear from me. She said she loved knowing her hard work had paved the way for me and so many other children. 

What book made you love reading as a child? Do you still read it today? 


Popular posts from this blog

A Very English Murder by Verity Bright (A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery) Book One

  Publication Date: April 3, 2020 Length: 300 pages As a Mom of two very busy teens I mistakenly thought, "oh during summer I'm going to get so much reading and reviewing done!" Wrong! I'm so behind on the Historical Fiction Challenge I'm embarrassed but.....I also have found it has been great for me in a new way to feel like I'm not able to read constantly. And that silver lining is that I have discovered so many adorable, short, easy to read books, especially cozy fiction and cozy mysteries that I am enjoying these shorts bursts of reading when I can knock out a book or two in a relatively short amount of time. Normally I feel pressure to read either long books or deep, meaningful books but as I get older I'm realizing it's okay to read things that are fun and quick!  This book is a delight. It is like reading a mystery that takes place in Downton Abbey. And if you are familiar with the show you know that everyone loves Mr. Carson, the butler. In thi

Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon

  Publication Date: November 23, 2021 Length: 928 pages Hello book lovers! This is my first blog and first review of a book so bear with me as I navigate my way through this new adventure. I have signed up to be a part of the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2022 and have chosen the Level Ancient History which requires me to read 25 historical fiction books this year and post a review about each book somewhere online. I have chosen to start a blog because I'd like to have my reviews all in one place so that I can easily look back on them throughout the challenge. Thank you to Marg at The Intrepid Reader and Helen at She Reads Novels for creating and promoting the challenge.  WHY I CHOSE THIS BOOK: My first book to review is Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon. Full disclaimer...this book is 928 pages and I read it from November 23rd to January 2nd so technically I finished it in 2022 but started it in 2021. It is so long that I'm going to just pat myself on th

Lionheart by Ben Kane

Publication Date: September 15, 2020 Length: 400 pages  I have to admit that reading historical fiction written by men has always been hit or miss for me. No disrespect to men....I love men! But sometimes their writing can lack all romance or personal touches beyond dates and battles. So the cover for this book is what really hooked me into trying it, shallow I know but I'm a sucker for all things Crusades and Richard the First. This was a well written piece of historical fiction. The author plans to make this a three part series and I will definitely be reading the next two books. We open Lionheart with a fictional character named Rufus. This is not his real name but one given to him by his captors. Right away I liked the style of the book, written in first person and giving us a running glimpse into the character's thoughts. Rufus is an Irish boy who has been given as a hostage to the English after his father and kin rebelled against them. He is lonely and depressed and treat