Our Favorite Writers Share Their Favorite Childhood Books

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Tell me about your most-read childhood book, and I’ll tell you who you are. The indelible impression that a favorite book makes on a young person is impossible to overestimate in its importance. The characters with whom we identify most intimately become as familiar as close friends. The different places and times to which we travel become favorite escapes. Even as adults—long after we’ve graduated from reading under our covers with flashlights—the exact same exuberance that we experienced as children rises back to the surface at the mere mention of a beloved childhood book. When a friend told me recently that he too cried at the end of Bridge to Terabithia—which, what kind of monster wouldn’t cry at the end of that book?—the jolt of recognizing a kindred literary spirit was enormously satisfying. Hopefully, you’ll feel that same sense of pleasure and recognition when you see what books some of our favorite authors remember as being life-changing for them, and even important to their own children. Who knows what books this next generation of kids will treasure long after they’ve moved on to more adult fiction? The only thing we can know for sure is that they won’t need a flashlight under the covers—iPads don’t require an external light source, after all.