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My Ten Favorite Life-Shaping Books by Amy Despain


Books have always been a part of my life. Reading would take me to all the places I could not go, creating a world that was better than my imagination. Life isn’t always easy or as fun as we want it to be, so escaping into the magic of books helped me to keep a positive outlook on the world. I believe that everyone can be an author, and I hope that I can inspire others to write their own by sharing the stories that inspired me.


A few of the books that have shaped my life were:

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig

How it influenced me: I loved that he found something and wished for something better, but he lost what he had. In the words of Mama Odie from Princess and the Frog, “you got what you wanted, but you lost what you had.” This perspective gave him a better appreciation for what was already in his life.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

How it influenced me: I loved how Jane Austen made fun of the upper classes and gender stereotypes. She wasn’t afraid to poke fun, even in the 1700s when there were strict rules about gender roles.






Voyage of the Basset by James C. Christensen

How it influenced me: In this book, James Christensen manages to introduce us to a whole array of new fairytale characters and creatures in such few pages. He also packed an immense number of stories with rich morals and strong values into his huge magical world.





Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontё

How it influenced me: This is a tragic love story with a dark side. Its twists and turns keep the reader engaged and on the edge of their seat, hoping that love will conquer all. I won’t spoil it for any of you who haven’t read it, but I highly recommend picking it up today.



Sweet Valley High by Francine Pascal

How it influenced me: This series was what got me through the armpit of my life- junior high. It is packed with relatable stories of young teenage drama and emotion. This series is a must-read for any preteen hoping to escape into a world parallel to theirs.




The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

How it influenced me: I read this book to my children and they to theirs. My youngest still believes that this special bunny is guarding her bedroom at night and protecting her and all her toys from danger.