Unfortunately, like most of my ‘favourite book lists,’ I cannot choose just one, so these are my top ones. This list is also distinct from the earlier ‘books that influenced me’ list in that these books may not have influenced my writing per se, but rather helped shape me into the person I was to become, and are partly responsible for my love of reading. To help manage this list, because I read a lot as a child, I’m sticking to a really young age/range; as in picture books and very early chapter books.
With these perimeters, my list is as follows:
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett and illustrated by Ron Barrett
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crocket Johnson
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
The Bailey School Kids by Marcia T. Jones and Debbie Dadey
Why these books stand out in the sea of books I consumed as a child is a surprisingly easy answer, and is also the reason why I love the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre: they invoked a sense of wonder, discovery, and otherness that my soul naturally gravitates to. Each one let me look at the world around me in a different way, and inspired me to not only ask ‘what if’ but to imagine what that answer might be. To be a tad melodramatic, these books (at least in part) taught me to dream.