Think of fifteen authors (poets included) who’ve influenced you and will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. If you’d like, leave a short description explaining why the author is important to you. This was originally started on Facebook, and if I knew who started it I’d give them credit. My list is on Facebook, but I want to take it a step further here on my blog. I’d love it if more bloggers would do the same and leave the link to their post as a comment!
1. Beverly Cleary- I don’t remember who introduced me to her, but I read and fell in love with Ramona and Her Mother in second grade. It was my very first chapter book; I was quite proud of myself when I finished.
2. Laurie Halse Anderson– I can say with confidence that she is my absolute favorite author. I’ve written before about my first experience with Speak and I could write about it a million more times. I’m so thankful that Dr. Steffel required us to read it in our young adult lit class at Central Michigan 🙂
3. Harper Lee- Not too many novels stand out when I think back to high school except To Kill a Mockingbird. I thoroughly enjoyed it my freshmen year and I love teaching it even more!
4. Oliver Wendell Holmes- I randomly drew his name for my 11th grade research paper topic. Sadly, I don’t remember too much about him expect finding his wonderful poem “The Star and the Water-lily.” It’s no wonder that my freshmen English teacher told my mom during conferences that I’m a romantic at heart…
5. Mary Stewart- My dad gave me a copy of The Crystal Cave when I was in 10th grade. We were reading stories about King Arthur and the Lady in the Lake. It’s an amazing novel about Merlin growing up. There are other books in the series that I have yet to read.
6. Roald Dahl- I zoomed through James and the Giant Peach when I was in elementary school. It’s a fantastic story and the movie is cute too.
7. Jay Asher- Th1rteen R3asons Why is a powerful novel that teens, parents, teachers, counselors (everyone really!) should read. I couldn’t put it down. Since it’s so popular with my students, I’ve bought four copies for my class library and still can’t keep all of them on my shelf!
8. Ellen Hopkins- Her books open the eyes of those who fortunately haven’t experienced addiction, abuse and severe depression, while letting those who have know that they’re not alone. I have all of her books in my classroom library; they’re some of the most popular among my students.
9. Elie Wiesel- I didn’t read Night until I taught it while student teaching. I am so thankful I was required to teach it. It’s Elie’s poignant memoir about his experience in the concentration camps. When my high school decided to edit the freshmen curriculum, I jumped at the opportunity to include Night; it’s one of our freshmens’ favorite units.
10. William Shakespeare- During my senior year in high school, my English teacher Mrs. Spear spent almost an entire semester teaching us Hamlet. I knew that play inside and out and even had to memorize and recite one of the soliloquies. Understanding that and also Julius Caesar during my sophomore year helped me decide to become an English teacher 🙂
11. Sarah Dessen- I can’t get enough of her novels. Someone Like You introduced me to her novels, and I’ve been a huge fan since. One day I’d love to be able to write a novel like she does.
12. Suzanne Collins- I love The Hunger Games trilogy, but that’s not why she’s made my list. I was allowed to include The Hunger Games in the “looping” section of English 9 Tri 3 I’m teaching (a section of students who failed and are now repeating Eng. 9-3). I was hoping/thinking my students would love this book. I didn’t expect them to be so incredibly excited about it and, in turn, excited about reading. I didn’t order Catching Fire as the second book to read because I didn’t want them to be “stuck” reading it if they didn’t like the first. I wish I had now. I now own five copies of Catching Fire and have a waiting list that grows by the day. They’re even telling other students about the book. I’m so proud of them! 😀
13. Judy Blume- Who didn’t love Judy Blume growing up? She’s an icon.
14. Eudora Welty- I’m sure this is an odd choice, but “The Worn Path” was an important story for me in college. I had Intro to Literary Analysis the semester my dad was diagnosed with Leukemia (thankfully he’s been cancer-free for almost seven years now!). I wasn’t putting much effort into my classes, except this class. I had to write a paper about the symbolism in her short story, and despite everything going on, I earned an A. I truly learned a lot in this class, and it’s been extremely helpful as a teacher.
15. Jandy Nelson- Jandy Nelson is a brand new author with her debut The Sky is Everywhere. It’s a tragic, sweet, and even humorous book. She made my list because her book has really pushed/inspired me to start my own novel. It’s hard to put into words what I experienced, but it was great.