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We All Have That One Book...

Everyone has that one book that changed reading for them. You know, that one book that before you read it, reading didn't mean that much to you; that one book that you can read over and over and it still draws you in every time. For me, it was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling. For many people in my generation, this was the book that opened up the door to reading, to an imaginary world, to a fandom that has stayed with us in the years since the books and movies ended.

I was in the 4th grade, it was 2001, just a few months before the first movie came out. I had never shown an interest in reading. My mom would buy me books, all different kinds, take me to bookstores with her, anything to spark an interest in me, and nothing worked. My mom has always loved reading, and my disdain towards it worried her. My Reading teacher that year was Mrs. Anderson. Her room was brightly colored, posters all over the walls, bean bags for students to sit in, and two huge bookcases full of different books that you could read when you were done with your work. I never used them, I was too busy tracing my Lisa Frank folders.

Remember this stuff?

I'm not sure if my mom asked my teacher to do something, of if Mrs. Anderson did it on her own, but one day shortly after school started, she pulled me aside and gave me the book; well, she lent me that book. It was her personal copy of it, not the one she kept on the shelves for students or a copy from the school library. She asked me to read the first 2 chapter, and if I didn't like it, she wouldn't push me any more.

So, I took the book home with me, and because I've never been a person to not do what the teacher asked of me, I began to read. I didn't even notice when I finished the first 2 chapters. By the end of the week, I finished the book. I also didn't want to wait for the next book. I assumed my teacher would have it available for her to let me borrow, however, I was sorely mistaken. She had lent it to someone else and all other copies were being borrowed. The wait list was 2 weeks. It killed me. I needed to know what happened in the second book.

I luckily have the best parents in the world. My mom worked at my elementary school and at some point during the day, I told her how upset I was. She called my dad and he made a trip to the closest B&N and bought me the first 4 books. It was just like Christmas.

I don't know how many times I re-read those books. Every time a new book came out, I'd read through all of the previously published ones again; anytime I felt lonely; anytime I got in a fight with my friends. Those books were very well loved. They helped me through so much; they brought me so much joy. I now not only have my original books, but a special box set I bought from Target last year as a birthday present to myself, as well as the new fully illustrated version by Jim Kay (and yes, I've pre-ordered the illustrated version of Chamber of Secrets).

There have been books since then that have stolen my heart, but nothing has every compared to the magical world that Rowling created and I am forever grateful for them.


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