Actress Audra McDonald's favorite books.
Books are a big part of my adult life and a huge part of my parenting—my 3-year-old daughter loves to be read to at night. (Her favorite book right now is Go, Dog. Go! ) But when I was growing up, my mother, father, and sister were the real readers. I didn't get into books until I was about 10 and picked up Judy Blume. I devoured all of them, especially Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. It talks about your body changing in a way that makes sense to you as a kid, not like the antiseptic answers you get at school, or the freaked-out response you get from your parents, who are probably thinking, "I can't believe I have to talk about this."

I was often called an overly dramatic child. So stories and plays became an important outlet for me. Instead of having to pretend to feel less than I did, I had license to let my emotions fly with the characters in these works. I could put myself in someone else's shoes and live their story. It was a wonderful thing for someone who eventually wanted to be on the stage.

Audra McDonald appears in A Raisin in the Sun at the Royale Theatre in New York City.

What's on Audra McDonald' Bookshelf? Read more!