What book made you fall in love with reading?

This month’s blog posts are about collective remembrance. Since we all enjoy stories, I thought it would be fun if we all remembered what book made us fall in love with reading?

For me, it the Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell.

It was 1980 something and I was in the 3rd grade. It was close to summer and I was dominating the Recess hopscotch matches so when my teacher passed out books with spines as thick as my hand’s grip, my mind, body, and spirit were elsewhere. I could have cared less about dolphins. Now if it has been a book called the Island of White Horses, I might not have rolled my eyes so much.

But as soon as I started turning the pages, I was transported from my school playground to my very own private island and I read that story as if I was the young female main character. That had never happened to me before.

Karana had the whole place to herself (I’m sure there was some kind of traumatic reason why she had no friends or family around but all my brain filtered in was that she had her own paradise). The most poignant scene was when she found bones from a large whale and built a home by placing them against a cave wall. She MacGyver’ed the outside structure and went Martha Stewart on the inside with things she found all over the island. She was my idol. She had complete freedom to do whatever she wanted (again, apologies if her family actually died and they didn’t just fade off the pages).

When I reached The End, I was like a kid with a twenty dollar bill in a candy store, Give Me More! Returning to my teacher, and after turning in my clearly deserved A+ paper, I asked her what was next?

She instructed me to go to a magically place called the Library. This required parental assistance for transportation and their help to find out that the next book was called the “Black Pearl”. I was not patient. Finally entering the library, the Dewey Decimal system almost stopped me in my tracks. Then his books were on the top shelf and I had to find one of the plastic wobbly stools. It was all kinds of drama for my 1980’s self. But none of that compared to my frustration when I started reading the first few pages and realized that we weren’t picking up from where we left off in the Island of the Blue Dolphins.

I was too young to understand that some authors wrote series while other authors wrote completely different stories. I still can’t tell you what the story of Black Pearl was about but that title is synonymous with childhood disappointment.

Being a very polite little girl, I’m sure I walked over to the librarian with sad puppy eyes and asked her why the author hated me so much but in my mind I slammed that book on her desk and gave a righteous speech about getting robbed of my next great story experience.

Eventually she asked me “What do you want to read?”

“I want to go back to the island.” The simple truth.

The librarian introduced me to books like the Swiss Family Robinson, Pocahontas and the wrong kind of island experience with the Lord of the Flies. Eventually I made it off the island and found a permanent home with Happily-Ever-After stories.

Twenty something years later, when I was volunteering at a local school to help organize their teacher resource room, I ran across a single copy of a well-read Island of the Blue Dolphins and my heart raced as I held the tiny book that changed my childhood.


I honestly can’t remember how the story ended (I’m sure there was a moral I failed to learn). And every once in a while, I have been tempted to go back and read it again but my memories of reading that story are too precious to risk being overwritten from an adult reading of the book.

So that is my story, what’s your book?


About Jessie Smith

Health Care Worker by Day, Aspiring Author by Night and 24/7 Staff for Riley (Corgie/Tibetan Spaniel Mix)

Posted on May 25, 2015, in Auth: Jessie Smith and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. For me it was Black Beauty 🙂 Read it the summer I turned 13.


  2. YOU should write the sequel (in heart if not in fact) to the dolphins. Or heck, make it horses.

    I always loved reading, but in those early years, I kept going back to The Hobbit, Black Beauty, and Watership Down. I’ve read them as an adult too, and while I found new things to love about them, the original thrill is still there too. I guess that’s a hallmark of a book that deserves to be a classic.


    • Jessie Smith

      Hi Jessa. I have often wondered why many of my stories have ended up on a deserted island, I suspect I have been trying to give her a happily ever after since the third grade.

      I wish I read the hobbit as a child. You are awesome!


  3. Stacy McKitrick

    The book that got me interested in reading was “Gone With the Wind.” I’d read books when I was a kid, but I was a slow reader. Realized I was just reading the WRONG books! I zipped through that one (okay, I read it in a week, but for me then (I was 16) it was zipping!). And to think I only picked that book to read for my English class because it counted for 3 books! Haha! 🙂


    • Jessie Smith

      Hi Stacy! I loved Gone with the Wind. In 6th grade a group of friends and I all dressed up as Scarlett O’Hara for Halloween 😄


  4. Jessie Smith

    Thank you Maggie for sharing. I love Pippi! I used to put pipe cleaners in my braids to get my hair to look like hers 😄


  5. My first childhood memory of reading was with Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren in 1961 or 1962. I was seven years old. I loved her independence. I loved that she did things I had previously thought only “boys” could do. I loved her adventures and her philosophy about relationships. Looking back, I realize she was quite the feminist for a little girl protagonist. I think it was the next year I fell in love with Sf and Fantasy after reading A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle.


    • Ha, you, me and Maggie, we are all Island Girls 🙂 Pippi was my heroine too, although Enid Blyton was my favorite author. Kids-on-a deserted-island themes run through many of her series. I fell in love with the idea of owning a parrot thanks to Miss Blyton (my parents were not thrilled, but eventually caved in and bought a cockatiel). Goal was to read all of her 500+ books, failed (maybe 300), it was not for lack of enthusiasm, but only because I couldn’t find all of them. She inspired me to start writing.


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