Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (Judy Blume): The "nothing" of Blume's classic story, Peter
Hatcher, was ordinary, imperfect, and ineffective... just like I was at his
age. This was the book that taught me that the most humorous stories were the
everyday kind. Without Peter Hatcher, I'm not so sure there would've been a
The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien): The
Hobbit was my first foray into "serious" books (e.g. ones that
ran over 100 pages), and following along with Bilbo and his 12 companions
opened my eyes to the adventures that could be had in the pages of a book.
Bilbo is not cut from heroic cloth, which is what makes his transformation so
Bink, the Xanth series (Piers Anthony): An ordinary
character in a world full of magic, Bink took the notion of angsty
"specialness" and stood it on its head. The Xanth series is full of
adventure, mischief, and most importantly, humor. Bink is the opposite of the
"chosen one," which is what made him relatable to me.
When You Reach Me (Rebecca Stead): A
contemporary character who is totally believable, allowing the reader to
experience extraordinary (and possibly magical) events right along with the
protagonist. Miranda's simultaneous doubts and acceptance of the supernatural
make When You Reach Me work as a modern classic.