This post is day 2 of the 30 day book blogging challenge. For the whole challenge, click here.
I was in fourth grade, milling about the historical fiction section at my school’s library, as i tended to do, when I saw a book that was a pretty shade of blue. I picked it up, and to my shock and amazement, it had a Black boy on the cover. A Black person myself, I was unused to finding books with people like me on the cover. The only ones I ever found were about slavery. But this one wasn’t. Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. It was about a poor orphan who loved jazz. For personal reasons, I really identified with this plot line.
I had always been a reluctant reader. If it wasn’t Captain Underpants or Junie B. Jones I didn’t bother. But when I read this book, something clicked. Maybe it was because I saw myself represented in a way I hadn’t before. Maybe it was because – despite the premise – this wasn’t a sad book. In fact, it was funny. It represented me not as a tragedy, but as something hopeful. And there was something amazing about that.
After I read Bud, Not Buddy, I wanted more. I wanted to see myself more, I wanted more of this thing I didn’t have a name for yet. (I would come to realize it’s call representation). I love this book, and it’s made me the reader I am today. It would take me years to discover Toni Morrison, Octavia Butler, Zora Neale Hurtson, and Langston Hughes. But this book gave me a direction in reading, and for that it will always be in my heart.
What was the first book that crawled it’s way into your heart and made you a reader?