The first book that made me cry was Bridge to Terabithia. I held the thin pages in my pruned hands, dampening the corners as I soaked up every last bubble in the bathtub, sobbing as the water turned cold.
I was mad at the author for killing off Leslie. It might have even been the first book I threw across the room, though certainly not the last. I anguished over the loss of a beloved character, wondering what would happen if I were to lose someone dear?
Weren’t books supposed to be for entertainment?
I had my own friend, just a trot through the scrub brush, who liked to climb trees and swing across the dry creek bed on a frayed rope swing. He and I spent hours combing through the caves and trails of the scraggly west—his mother kept boxes of chocolate bars in his kitchen—he liked to race and swim and dream, just like I did.
As I returned that book to the library, I felt an even closer kinship to my friend next door, knowing that the fun we had was not just kid stuff—it was precious.
I craved more books and wanted to know how they held such power. Little Women taught me that living with grace outweighed the shallow demands of society. Anne of Green Gables taught me that family goes beyond blood ties.
Frank Peretti’s books walked me through my high school years, opening my eyes to spiritual warfare and the root behind what makes us do what we do. Piercing the Darkness was one of the most powerful books I discovered, as far as how it helped shape my worldview and why it was okay to be me.
When people lump books in with the entertainment section, I always do a double take. Yes, they certainly entertain, but not mindlessly, not in a way that wastes time or hinders a reader’s creativity.
They have the power to change lives. To Educate. To make a child think beyond summertime swinging over a dry creek bed.
Is there a book that impacted your life? Tell us about it in the comments.