The Book That Made Me: A Collection of 32 Personal Stories, edited by Judith Ridge

The Book That Made Me: A Collection of 32 Personal Stories, edited by Judith Ridge, Candlewick Press, (9780763695491), 2017

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1- 5 (5 is excellent or a Starred review)  4

What did you like about the book?  Twenty six authors, mostly from Australia and New Zealand, write about the book or books that inspired them to become writers.  Although most of the authors might be unknown to Americans, their essays about the love of books will serve as inspiration.  The most familiar author names are Shaun Tan, who also provided illustrations throughout the book, and Mark Zusak.  The first essay is by Randa Abdel-Fatah, “an Australian-born Muslum of Palestinian Egyptian heritage” who was so enamored of the Sweet Valley High series that she wrote her own stories set in America and featuring characters who were blond and blue-eyed.  She found diversity in the books she read to be mostly nonexistent, but when she finally found one,  Looking for Alibrandi  by Melina Marchetta, she was inspired to write about what she herself knew.  Shaun Tan’s mother grew up in a family that did not value reading or books, so she set out to make sure her family’s lives were filled with literature.  He recalls her reading George Orwell’s Animal Farm to him and his brother when they were only 7 and 8.  Bibliophiles and aspiring writers will find lots to love in this collection.  The end pages include more about the authors, a list of books and authors mentioned in the book for further reading.  

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No

To whom would you recommend this book?  This is the perfect choice for bibliophiles and budding authors.  Although a majority of the authors might be unknown, the number of titles mentioned will give readers a nice reading list.  

Who should buy this book?  Public libraries and high school libraries

Where would you shelve it? Nonfiction (028.8)

Should we (librarians/readers) put this at the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

Date of review:  7/23/17             

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