Hello everyone! I love the topic of today's post, because I could really go on and on about the books that have made a significant impact on my life, especially growing up.
If I had to award the title of "The Book of my Childhood," it would honestly be a tie. But one of the victors would be Song of the Wanderer (Book Two of The Unicorn Chronicles) by Bruce Coville, a TBF alum (and if you're wondering, the other is From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg, another fine novel).
(As a slight aside, you might be wondering: Why Book Two? To answer, I had an interesting habit when I was younger of reading book series out of order, and The Unicorn Chronicles was one of them. If you're starting this series today, Book One is Into the Land of the Unicorns.)
I remember being completely captivated by Song of the Wanderer--it was one of the first proper fantasy novels I ever read, and the rich descriptions of magic, mythical creatures, and adventures created a world I longed to be a part of. I still remember bits and pieces of the plot, but more than that, the novel evokes a strong sense of nostalgia and memories of that time. Looking at the creased cover, I remember sprawling on the basement floor, a slight chill in the air, opening to the first chapter where Cara meets with the Queen. Flipping through the now delicate pages, I remember carrying it with me everywhere I went--at home, at school--and the day the first page of the table of contents flew out after being worn through many, many page turns.
I loved Song of the Wanderer so much, I went to the Children's Book Festival sometime afterward to meet Bruce Coville myself. I remember stopping him awkwardly as he passed in the hallway, but he took the time to sign my copy and take a photo with me. "Follow the unicorn path!" he wrote, and I certainly hope I have.
This all occurred eight or nine years ago, but Song of the Wanderer still has great personal significance. Like my other "books of my childhood," I will never forget it, as I firmly believe it is imprinted somewhere in the fabric of who I am. These novels sparked my love of reading and writing, and that is truly fundamental to my identity.