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When I was young, I never needed anyone… Just kidding, this isn’t a tribute to Celine Dion. Happy Friday, Seekers! Today, we’re taking you all the way back to when J and K were wee folk with a burgeoning love of reading. Read on to learn which books and series kindled our imaginations and inspired us to write stories of our own.

J A magical wardrobe. Dufflepuds. Talking beavers. Have you guessed which series these are all from? The Chronicles of Narnia remains among my favorite reads of all time. I fell in love with the series as a child and read the books over and over again. Its timeless characters and the lessons imparted make C.S. Lewis’s classic series the literary equivalent of a warm hug. Cracking open The Silver Chair, one of my personal favorites from the series, is like visiting an old friend. In fact, I think I’m overdue for another trip through the wardrobe.

Read Aloud Dad : Complete Chronicles of Narnia: My Picks of the Best  Illustrated Children's Editions

My next pick is a weird little book that I found in the library of the elementary school I attended. I might pick up on the religious undertones now if I were to read it again, but as a second or third grader it sparked a fascination with sci-fi. The plot, as I remember it, involved the forced euthanization of citizens who could no longer contribute to society. A little dark for elementary school, but hey, I turned out alright. Zaanan: The Ransom of Renaissance (9781557481368): Bohl, Al:  Books

My last pick is the very first Star Wars expanded universe (now known as Legends) novel I ever read: The Truce at Bakura, by Kathy Tyers. Disney would very much like for me to forget that this book existed, because it was the first story set immediately after the events of Return of the Jedi (Timothy Zahn’s seminal Star Wars novel, Heir to the Empire, is set 5 years after that). It thrust readers into the chaos and conflict of the New Republic’s birth, and introduced some creepy saurian villains. If you’ve never explored Legends, this is a great place to start. It’s what kickstarted my ongoing Star Wars obsession.

0553095412 - Seller-Supplied Images - AbeBooks

K J is taking some of mine! Narnia was definitely on my list and probably propelled me into my love of fantasy. Narnia has one thing in common with the series I’ll share with you instead. Talking animals. I speak of Redwall! A series I read even into college because Brian Jacques was still writing more. A badger lord who lives in a volcano and forges weapons, peaceful mice moles and otters who have to take up arms, a warrior mouse spirit who has a fabled magical sword, and abbots who don’t really have a religion beyond a love for food and celebration – this is Redwall.

It is hard to say if I had a love for nautical and pirate things before or because of The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. I certainly remember loving that this historical novel took a upper class teenage girl and had her become a sailor and not like “ladies” of the time. I always imagined that I could have been Charlotte, climbing masts and thwarting an angry captain. I recommend this book even today to everyone. As adults we can see some of the themes even better.

I have to talk about Star Wars. I was beginning to read the Expanded Universe in middle school and started with Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire. I. Was. Hooked. After that series I then moved to read them in order of events ABY (after the battle of Yavin). But his trilogy started my insatiable appetite for Star Wars novels and ultimately the realm of sci-fi novels. Thrawn, as Disney has learned, was an intriguing character. There is so much good material in “Legends”. Sigh. You know our feelings about this by now.

What books inspired you to become avid readers?

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  1. Oh I love “The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.” Definitely made an impact. “The Giver” is my favorite book, but I was either reading anything fairy tales or Shakespeare as a kid, followed by ghost stories. I didn’t get into series until college.

    1. Author

      The Giver is a good one! I read a lot of Goosebumps and Boxcar Children in elementary. There was also this ice skating series I was in to because I was an ice skater. So many books! -K

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