Before I dived head first into comics books and manga, I was a book nerd and a ravenous reader of non-fiction, fiction, and encyclopedias, even dictionaries (the big ones with pictures) all for the fun of it. I lived in the library, especially the travel and Egyptology sections.
Now that I have four nieces and a nephew, I have taken it upon myself to find books that they will enjoy and open their minds and hopefully make them curious about the world. As I search for books, I am reminded of my childhood favorites. Of the books I re-read again and again here are three of my favorites!
The story is about Raisin Stackhouse who sort of gets suckered into cleaning up an old graveyard. Yet, as Raisin starts to learn more about the history buried there, secrets of the town’s past comes to light. I loved Raisin because she was a history buff like me, and she had crazy adventures (even sneaking out of the house after being grounded) that were funny and exciting. I read this one most often between ages 10-12.
This book was a staple in my teenage years. Set in 1930’s Mississippi, the story follows Cassie and her family as she learns what it means to be African American landowners in depression era Deep South. Cassie is a strong character who is smart and has stubborn streak, which resonated with me. As this is historical fiction it also provided a close up view of racism in America from the eyes of someone I could relate to. This book would technically be #4 in the series, but it was the first one I read and still love the most. Read between ages 12-15.
And finally, my favorite book by the late Walter Dean Myers. The story follows the history of an African American family from their first captured African ancestor in 1740’s into 1994 (similar to Alex Haley’s Roots but for teens). Again this book appealed to the history buff in me. I also enjoyed the different perspectives between the male and female main characters of each section. Since each chapter/section is a short story that made re-reading my favorite parts very easy. Read this between ages 14-16.
While my nieces and nephew are not yet at the ages I read these books, they can expect to receive each of these at some point in the years to come. Really, I’m still a book nerd at heart.