Thursday, December 13, 2012

Books that Cast a Spell on Me

I'm a big fan of magic: fantastical worlds, untapped energies, roaring spells and philosophical beings that emerge due to a magical universe and reveal deeper elements of humanity. It's what gets my imagination racing with joyful adrenalin. I've shared before with friends, peers, and you that the magic of the Harry Potter series guided me back to children's literature as a whole to discover the possibilities in studying and pursuing it. All comes back to magic... And yet while reminiscing about some of my favorite books from childhood, I realized that the idea of magic without magic is a powerful component of many of my early books--the spells the stories cast was upon my imagination and creativity. So here I am sharing a few, just a handful, of books that I am indebted to for waking up different facets of fantastical thinking in my mind:

1. Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe -- Long before vampires became the sparkly creatures of every teenagers dream, their mystique inhabited a little rabbit, raising the suspicions of the family's keen observant cat, Chester. As a child I adored rabbits and the intrigue of this tale played upon that love completely, making me much more curious, observant, and thoughtful about the ordinary people, places, and animals around me.

2. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien -- the ultimate presence of science astounded me, making the characters more accessible and memorable for me.  The balance between intelligence and the heart twisted around the idea of where magic resides, and the sweet protagonist mother mouse Mrs. Frisby has the coolest name too (who doesn't love frisbees? come on).

3. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery -- You know how he tames the fox, makes it love him and loves it back in return? Yeah, I may have tried that over and over again with the wild bunnies around our home when I was little. Perhaps it didn't work, but I certainly came to care for my little bunny more and more at least. That of course is just one of the epic reasons I love this story.

4. Frindle by Andrew Clements -- Okay I wasn't actually a child when I read this. It was my brother's and I must have been about 15 or so when I did. Nevertheless, it resonates with me always as the perfect depiction of the power of words, creativity, and idea formation in the real world. Plus, I considered time and time again what word would I want to create... still working on it.

What books wove magic spells and enchantments around you simply by their ideas? What shaped your imagination as a youngling? Do share! 

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