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Readers share favorite stories before Read Across America Day

Friday is the National Education Association’s Read Across America Day (also known as: Dr. Seuss Day). We asked readers to write in about their favorite book.

So if you’re unsure what to pick up Friday to read, let us help.

Donna Kaiser, Fort Wayne:

“Hands down my most favorite book is ‘Stone Fox’ by John Reynolds Gardiner. The story is roughly based on a Rocky Mountain folk tale and was brought to my attention by a fellow third-grade teacher back in the ’80s. I read this story to my class every year, and I have never had a book engage children like this one.

“It is the story of an orphan boy, his grandfather and a dog. The story of these three characters shows the value of hard work and commitment, the unconditional love of family, and the belief that we can achieve what we set our minds to do. I am now retired but when I meet former students, many tell me ‘Stone Fox’ is a favorite memory. I can guarantee if you read this story, you will hold it forever in your heart.”

Gaynel R. Murphy, Fort Wayne:

“My favorite book is ‘Pencil Dancing: New Ways to Free Your Creative Spirit,’ by Mari Messer. I found it at the (Allen County Public Library), fell in love and bought my own copy. Mari demonstrates how to think creatively in all aspects of life, not just within the arts. At the end of each chapter, she gives suggestions for explorations and projects to get you started.

“Whenever I feel my life getting too mechanical and humdrum, I grab this book from its favored spot on my bookshelf and prime the pump of my creative juices.”

Gaynel R. Murphy, writing for Sylvia Musser, Fort Wayne:

“Now I’m acting as my mother’s secretary. She is 98 years old and lives with my husband and me. Her favorite book is Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ Mom has been reading this wonderful book over and over for many years, plus she watches it on television every time it is aired with closed-captioning. She loves the English setting, the antics of Mrs. Bennet and the fact that although there are a lot of funny misunderstandings, as with every good romance, all is well in the end.”

Nancy McCammon-Hansen, Fort Wayne:

“My favorite book? The first in the Harry Potter series. Why? Because it turned our son into a reader. The summer this J.K. Rowling work came out, our son came to me and said, ‘Mom, there’s this book I really want to read, but it’s only out in hardbound.’ He knew that I usually waited for the paperback edition of a work. However, in this instance we went to the bookstore immediately after work, because enticing him to read anything that wasn’t on a computer screen was difficult at best. He settled in a chair beside his piano that evening and didn’t move with the exception of sleep and eating until he’d finished ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.’

“From that point on, he was a reader (and owner of first editions of the entire series). And now over 10 years later, he has expanded his reading interests dramatically. The last time he visited us, he pulled a thick book out of his messenger bag, and I asked what he was reading. His reply, ‘Oh, I saw this in the airport bookstore and since I’ve never read any Kafka, I thought I’d pick this up for the plane.’

“As to my personal interests and favorites, I really like Anne Lamott, and Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell series, but I also read non-fiction, primarily history, politics and religion. I facetiously say (sort of) that my personal philosophy is that ‘you can’t die until you read all of your books, and thus I’m headed toward immortality.’ ”

Brian Davies, Fort Wayne:

“ ‘Where Eagles Dare’ by Alistair MacLean. I spotted this paperback at a school rummage sale for 50 cents when I was in fifth grade. Since I already loved the movie, I had to read the book. That’s when I first discovered that one will find disparities between print and film versions of a story.

“Over the decades, I’ve owned three paperback copies and received a hardcover edition for Christmas one year. I lost count some time ago, but at one point in the 1990s I had currently read it 137 (not a typo, 137!) times. I know the book so well that while reading Clive Cussler’s ‘Iceberg,’ I noticed distinct similarities. After meeting Mr. Cussler and discovering he is an ardent MacLean fan also, I congratulated myself on my perception.”

Carol Miller, Fort Wayne:

“My favorite book is ‘Atlas Shrugged’ by Ayn Rand. I was in my 20s when I first read this eye-opener book 50 years ago. I was fascinated by the characters, the philosophy of living off wealth of others, and the interaction of all the characters. The love undertone kept me up at night.

“I have re-read this entire novel every 10 years. I then think about how I have grown and changed each decade and how I find new meaningful philosophical ways to live my life. I received my master’s degree in counseling from University of Saint Frances in my 40s. The next time I re-read this novel, I realized even more lessons to learn.”

Meaghan Wolfe, Fort Wayne:

“I found this toddler book (‘From Head to Toe,’ Eric Carle) when my son was little. It has all of the wonderful color and artwork this author is famous for, and in addition to promoting reading, it encourages social skills, gross motor development, and fun. Some of my fondest memories are of my son kicking like a donkey when he was 3 years old.

“My second favorite book is called ‘Address Unknown’ by Katherine Kressman Taylor. It is a very short book for adults. It is a book of correspondence between a Jew in America and a German in Hitler’s Germany. The time span of the correspondence shows how good friends can turn on each other due to cultural influence.

“This short book has made the strongest impression on my mind as to how devastating Hitler’s warped beliefs can change the lives of the most innocent.”

jyouhana@jg.net

More favorites

Want some more recommendations? Here are additional local picks:
Robert Lee Kelly, Fort Wayne: “West with the Night,” Beryl Markham
M.L. Lehman, Fort Wayne: “The Johnstown Flood,” David McCullough
Mimi Hicks, Fort Wayne: “Redeeming Love,” Francine Rivers
Mary Knopp, Fort Wayne: “Great Son,” Edna Ferber
Carla Nunez, New Haven: “Thank You for Smoking,” Christopher Buckley
David Sowards, Fort Wayne: “Games Played in Mae La Refugee Camp,” Min Naing Lin
Linda Davis, Fort Wayne: “Little Men,” Louisa May Alcott
Ginny Roesler, Rome City: “The Shack,” William Paul Young
Barb Kolk, Fort Wayne: “Tisha: The Story of a Young Teacher in the Alaska Wilderness,” Robert Specht
Catherine Regan, Fort Wayne: “The Childhood of Famous Americans” series
Allison Reid, Fort Wayne: “Girl, Stolen,” April Henry
Phyllis Bush, Fort Wayne: “Truman,” David McCullough
Lucy Geyer, Huntington: “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,” Laura Hillenbrand
Elaine Pendergrast, Antwerp, Ohio: “The Sparrow” and its sequel “Children of God,” Mary Doria Russell
Shannen Regan, Fort Wayne: “Scout: The Secret of the Swamp,” Piet Prins
Patricia Rider, Fort Wayne: “Follow the River,” James Alexander Thom
Ruth Johnson, Fort Wayne: “Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World,” Vicki Myron
Sara Ahmad, Fort Wayne: “Empress Orchid,” Anchee Min
Pamela Young, Paulding, Ohio: "John Denver’s Sunshine on my Shoulders," by Christopher Canyon
Steve Pick, Leo-Cedarville: “Giant Chicken Invasion,” David Sowards

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