what is the first book you remember reading?

School begins in our little world next week, leading all free thoughts to clothes, supplies, classrooms, teachers, and schedules (blech). Of course, my brain automatically pushes all of those things to the side, preferring instead to focus on books and reading and the sheer awesomeness they promise. Inevitably, the combination of crisp fall air, crowded school buses, and new gym shoes draw me back into my own years as a student. You know, back to a time when books not only offered genuine entertainment but life-changing views of self, others, and this crazy world?
Such reminiscing causes me to wonder about books and the power they can have over our developing minds. I mean, how can they not? After all, some of my best times as a reader were during my adolescent years. I had less responsibility, leaving countless free moments to indulge in reading for pleasure. My overall experience was limited, making the available book selections appear infinite. My tastes  weren’t sharpened, offering every genre the chance to spark my interest. The entire world was open to me if I was only willing to pick up a book and read.

And boy, did I ever pick up books and read.  From the very first, I loved it.

Of course, now I struggle to recall the first ‘real’ book I ever read. And by real, I mean not assigned by a teacher or marketed to kids. The answer: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Did it have an impact on my life? Absolutely. For one thing, it showed me that I was capable of forging through a difficult story fraught with adult problems, and that by sticking to it, I was rewarded with a fantastic tale of war, love, and history. Another reason it was important was because it steered me toward the genre of historical fiction, which I still harbor as my favorite. And finally, Mitchell’s work stirred me to seek out well-written books with intense characters, intricate plot-lines, and fantastic language. In a nutshell, it made me WANT to read. More. And never stop.
What is the first book you remember reading? Did it influence you, your reading choices, or your life? Please share! 

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