What books influenced your love of reading and writing of novels while growing up? Which ones carry lessons you bring forward into your writing today? E.g., I love the sense of wonder that infuses all of the above books.
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell about a young, native american woman who gets stuck on an island and her struggle for survival while waiting for a ship to rescue her. It's like a much cooler Hatchet.
Jennifer Murdley's Toad by Bruce Coville about a young girl who buys a magical, talking toad from a weird pet store. I remember thinking that this book was really cool when I was in fifth grade. I felt so trendy reading it.
All Summer In A Day by Ray Bradbury. Ok, cheating. This is a short story, but it is the sadest thing you will ever read. I think I was traumatized for days after reading it in school.