By Laura Ingalls Wilder
This marked the start of my love affair with books. A fictionalization of Wilder's life with her family in a log cabin in 19th-century Wisconsin, the Little House series utterly captured my imagination. We started a Laura Ingalls Wilder club at my local library, and I was its most enthusiastic member. I—and I suspect most girls— particularly identified with Laura, the feisty heroine, who was always getting into trouble (unlike her perfect older sister, Mary). Once, Laura collected so many pretty stones from a lakeshore that her bulging dress pocket fell off and she was scolded for being greedy. I could totally relate to that, and I was also fascinated that a dress pocket could come off. It was the first time I connected with a world very different from my own.