When I was a little girl, I loved reading books. I remember sitting under a tree for hours, letting the images from my favorite stories fill my mind. At the time, I didn’t see reading as being serious business. Like most children, I saw books as a welcome escape from my schoolwork or household chores. Little did I know that the books that I was reading would influence my life for decades to come. It is not an exaggeration to say that many of the books that I read changed my life.

When I was about 12 or 13 years old, I was obsessed with the Nancy Drew series of books. They offered me, a tangible example of a girl who was strong, determined and full of curiosity. I also loved the fact that she was always solving mysteries. As the only girl in my family, she became a role model and helped to shape my personality. She helped me to see beyond gender stereotypes and become my own woman. I’m glad that I encountered her during my formative early teenage years.

I’m not sure why the books that we read as children have such a strong impact on us. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that they are introduced to us at a time when we are susceptible to persuasion. Or, maybe, the books that we read as children are written with the intention of changing our minds and forming our opinions. For example, few could argue that there are strong social messages in Robin Hood. As we get older, our opinions become more nuanced, but, the subconscious messages that we receive as children remain.

My granddaughter is only 10 years old, but, I am already thinking about how to introduce her to some of the “classics” that I enjoyed when I was a kid. I’m curious to see whether she will have a similar reaction to mine, or, whether she will prefer something more contemporary. After all, her favorite book just recently was “Pirate and Sinkyface.” Regardless, I’m sure that they will give us lots to talk about!

What books did you read as a child that had a major impact on your life? Would you go so far as to say that any of the books that you read “changed your life?” Are you planning on introducing your grandkids to any of the books that you read? Which ones? Please join the conversation and share this article to keep the discussion going!

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