By Christina Samek, an OverDrive Launch Specialist 


We are a team of book nerds. This is not news–we love books, we know books. But, it wasn’t always this way. We were children once, figuring it all out. Words were shaping the trajectory of our lives in big and small ways but we had no idea. Now, with the benefit of perspective, we can tell you which words mattered most.

Here our the books that got us reading. Because, it only takes one…or two…or three.

Rachel Woods (Collection Development Analyst)

A book I read often was Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar. It must’ve been the quirky concept of a school that had accidentally been built 30 floors high with one classroom on each floor. You got to know the diverse class of Mrs. Jewls on the 30th floor and there was always a situation featured that I, as a student, could relate to. It’s the first of a series and I loved all of them.

Emma Kanagaki (Collection Development Analyst)

Bloomability and Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech were two of the first books that I remember that really and truly caught my interest. Similar to the two main characters of these books, I experienced a lot of change when I was young that included having a new sibling (7 years younger than me) and moving to an entirely new town.

The characters in these books helped me realize that “home” changes in definition and that stepping outside of your comfort zone can lead to unexpected (and great) places. I find that these two lessons still apply to my adult life. My definition of home has changed many times over the years, and being open to new experiences has lead me to a place I never expected to be, but I now cannot imagine being anywhere else. I have books to thank for that!

Adam Sockel (Social Media Specialist)

Where the Red Fern Grows. I don’t remember how old I was (maybe around 8 or 9?) but I remember this being the first book that brought me to tears. It broke my heart. But it was also the first time I realized books could move your emotions as if the events were happening to me personally. I loved books before this time but Where the Red Fern Grows got me obsessed.

Andrea Sieracki (Account Specialist)

I was 15 when my grandfather bought me Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling for Christmas. I vividly remember opening my present, forcing a smile, and lying that I loved all things Harry Potter and couldn’t wait to read the newest book. I wasn’t a reader. Reading was dull and trivial. I was an individual who barely read the books my English teachers required of me, let alone would pick up a book for fun! So why would he buy me a book? Did he know me at all? (Turns out better than I thought!) A few weeks after Christmas I figured I’d give Harry a shot. I took some leftover Christmas money and bought myself Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I’ve never looked back.

Since that fateful Christmas when I first received my ticket on the Hogwarts Express I have vacationed in Narnia, swam with mermaids in Neverland, made friends and enemies in Westeros, traveled across Erilea, ruled over Camelot, spent summers in Wonderland, and hitched rides across time and space.

Melissa Marin (Marketing Specialist)

I learned to read by devouring my kindergarten classroom copies of the Little Critter series. From there, I never stopped. If I had to pinpoint one book that really built my love of reading, though, I would have to say it’s Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

Growing up with four younger sisters, I related to the story of the March sisters and could see myself in all of them. I wanted to be a writer like Jo; sweet like Beth; worldly like Amy; and dreamed of finding a love like Meg finds with John Brooke. Something about this book connected with me at the right time in my life. It showed me how stories can open up new worlds and reflect back aspects of my life, even if they take place over a century before I was born.

Kristin Milks (Collection Development Analyst)

When I was a kid I loved books. Not always reading them all the way through, but the idea that between those covers was a new world that I could explore. I half read a lot of books, until Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine came across my path. Fairytales and legends have always been a sweet spot for me and Levine’s take on the Cinderella story incited so many feelings in my young self. I remember raging at the wicked step mother, feeling the anguish Ella felt because of her curse, and the joy at the happy ending. I did not read this book, I became a part of it.

Christina Samek (Me!)

And finally for me, I loved A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L ’Engle because it was the first book where the main character felt more like me than any other character I encountered before. Meg wasn’t extraordinary—she was a small-town, stubborn, immature 13 year old girl who was thrust into great adventure.

I don’t know when but at some point during our childhood we stop believing in fairytales and nursery rhymes and I think that’s where we get lost. A Wrinkle in Time found me when I needed books the most and I’ve never stopped trusting in their magic.

What was it for you?