The treasures of her hectic life? Old childhood favorites and an anthem to freedom.
I've never been one of those people who only liked fiction or biographies or nonfiction. I treasure all different kinds of books, writers, stories. Maybe that's why I recently found myself drawn to a book that combines storytelling with history, where great characters merge with wonderful plots. The book is Freedom: A History of US, and it's the companion to a documentary series of the same name currently on PBS that I am proud to say I'm hosting.

The events of our country's past seem so relevant today, given freedom's particular value and vulnerability. Without being preachy or too politically correct, author Joy Hakim introduces her readers to pioneers, athletes, musicians, judges, labor leaders, presidents, poets, environmentalists, soldiers, suffragettes. I've discovered heroes I never knew existed: Ida Tarbell, one of the country's first investigative reporters, whose exposé of John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company led to new antimonopoly laws, and Mother Jones, who fought on behalf of child labor reform at the turn of the last century. The book is full of inspiration, not just for our kids, but also for all of us.

I used to think that when you grew up, you actually stopped growing. How wrong I was. The list that follows is of books I loved as a young girl. When I think about them, I remember well how they influenced me: The characters, the relationships, and the plots resonate in a way that continues to inform the person I am still becoming. Other favorites include To Kill a Mockingbird and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Clearly, there's a theme running through many of my choices, one best described in yet another favorite, The Little Prince: 'It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.'

What's on Katie Couric's Bookshelf? Read more!


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