Dogs and dolls and mysteries, oh my! My bookprint that left a paw print on my life

Hello! I am Alison and I am a summer intern here at Scholastic. I am a rising senior at Hofstra University studying Video/Television and Business. Reading was something my parents always wanted me to do, (and I did) but I wasn’t a big bookworm. I grew up reading Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham and Are You My Mother?, as well as The Lady With The Alligator Purse. I have always loved a good story and many of those stories came from my favorite books below. These books have also taught me a lot about myself and a lot about life.

The Doll People by Ann M. Martin and Laura Goodwin: I have read this book so many times - and it still sits on my bookshelf at home. It is the story of a 100-year-old china doll named Annabelle, whose family and her doll house has been passed down for generations. The dolls can walk and talk when humans are not present. When her owner Kate’s younger sister gets a doll house of her own, in comes a new plastic doll family, the Fun-crafts. Their daughter, Tiffany, becomes Annabelle’s best friend. Together, Annabelle and Tiffany go on a journey to find Annabelle’s long lost aunt, with a little venturing outside of their comfort zone and have a run in or two with Kate’s cat. This is the first “chapter book” that I read completely on my own. I even picked it myself. Reading your first chapter book on your own is like a rite of passage for all kids and through my “rite of passage,” I learned to love reading for fun and that sometimes you need to break out of your comfort zone.

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin: This book was the first assigned reading book that I actually enjoyed. It tells the story of self-made millionaire Samuel W. Westing’s murder and how 16 unrelated people named in his will need to figure out who killed Mr. Westing. My 7th grade English teacher (I’m looking at you, Mrs. Joyce) made us read it on schedule with the class - and no skipping ahead! Of course, being the rebel that I am, I skipped ahead because when a book is that good, how can you not stop reading? Now that I think about it, maybe this is what influenced my love of Netflix binging? Same rules apply to any great story, right?

The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins: I’m pretty sure this series needs no explanation because it seems like the whole world has read it. If you haven’t, please go out and read it and make it a part of your summer reading. I was a little behind the initial debut and read the series during my freshman year of high school, four years after it was published. Here’s the Millennial in me talking: it was the first eBook that I ever read, which completely changed the reading game for me. Still, I do agree that reading a physical book is better, however, I enjoy jumping into reading a whole library of books right in the palm of my hand.

Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog by John Grogan: Anyone who knows me knows that I love dogs. My new favorite meme is when a person asks “when do you feel the most beautiful?” and the response is “when a dog wants to cross the street to come say hi to me.” Marley & Me tells the story of life with this loveable yet crazy yellow Labrador Retriever named Marley. It is an adorable book that made me laugh, but as said best in The Lion King, "It’s the circle of life." Do with that information what you will, but it was the first book that made me cry (read: sob). I was the kind of kid that didn’t really cry, so much so that my mother would call me the "Ice Princess." Well, Marley & Me finally thawed the Ice Princess, that is for sure. My mother will never let me live that down.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein is another great book featuring a dog. This story was a lot different than Marley & Me. It was told from the perspective of dog named Enzo, who believes that a dog who is prepared will be reincarnated as a human. He is like a philosopher dog, per se, spending most of his time watching and learning from television and learning what he can about life from his owner, Denny’s, passion for race car driving. Throughout the novel, Enzo helps Denny through many things including the death of his wife and a custody battle over his daughter while giving us perspective into the human condition. Again with the circle of life of dogs, however, I didn’t have the same level of emotional response like I did with Marley & Me. This book really stuck with me because it was the first “adult book” that I read.

Overall, my favorite books from my childhood and young adulthood have taught me a few things: 1) Always look skeptically at dolls to try to find signs of life, 2) I really like mysteries and dystopian stories, 3) If a dog dies, I’m going to ugly cry.

Books have the power to shape us and help us find ourselves-even after we are kids-so always keep reading. 

Courtesy of Wikipedia