There's something about children's books that get to the heart of what life is.
  1. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
    This is a book that I've come back to over and over as an adult. Creech created a story with incredibly real characters, emotion, and of course, blackberry kisses.
  2. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konisburg
    A story that taught me the importance of independence and adventure. And how to play the card game "War"
  3. The Skin I'm In by Sharon Flake
    There have been few protagonists, before or since I've read this book, that I've identified with in a visceral way.
  4. Cat Running by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
    I learned about the reality of poverty along with Cat. I wanted/want to be as tough as her.
  5. Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
    A story about first impressions, first love, and redemption.
  6. Here's to You, Rachel Robinson by Judy Blume
    All happy families are alike, every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. What a relief.
  7. Holes by Louis Sachar
    Lesson learned: adults can be evil, too.
  8. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
    The reason I started journaling (and spying).
  9. The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
    The beginning of endless recess sessions filled with world creating in the woods.
  10. Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary
    I love all of the Ramona books (and pretty much everything Beverly Cleary has written), but this one, exploring the dynamic between Ramona and her dad, is a special favorite.
  11. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
    Each read is a reminder all of us possess magic.
  12. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
  13. The One and Only Ivan by K.A. Applegate
    This book was published long after I was a child, but the lyrical writing and story made me feel like one again.
  14. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney
    Not really a children's book, but I read it as a child, and wanted a friend group (and boyfriend) like Janie's.
  15. Eleven by Sandra Cisneros
    A short story rather than a book, but it packs more punch than most novels.