When I first began planning this feature I knew I wanted to take some time to showcase some of the novels that got me into reading and loving historical fiction in the first place. So here goes.
Growing Up With Jack and Annie: The Magic Tree House Books
The Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborne were the first books that I can remember that really brought alive the places that the characters, Jack and Annie, visited. Other books told great stories but I can't remember any others before these that helped me imagine all the various places and times in history so vividly. They were my favourite books.
I remember wishing I lived in Frog Creek and could join Jack and Annie on all their amazing adventures. How many kids can say they've been to all the places Jack and Annie went? They visited dinosaurs, medieval knights, mummies, pirates, and ninjas - and all in the first five books!
I distinctly remember which ones were my favourites, mostly because those were the ones that either inspired me to research the time period or to write a story set in that time myself. When reading that little bit about the setting made me determined to know more, Mary Pope Osborne had written a hit in my books.
I distinctly remember loving both Vacation under the Volcano and Hour of the Olympics, probably because they were set in ancient Rome and Greece and were about notable events that I had already had an interest in. Apparently that interest has stayed with me, as this year at school I took classes on both ancient civilizations.
What is is with me and wars I could not tell you, but I absolutely loved these two instalments of the series. Possibly because, again, they were notable events in time that I had already learned a bit about. I also loved seeing the humanity in the middle of terrible fighting, maybe even more so because it came from the eyes of fellow children.
These two round out my favourite Magic Tree House books because they both inspired me to write. Also, I have some weird obsession with natural disasters (maybe this is where I got that). I remember finishing Earthquake and going into my mom's work the next day, sitting at her typewriter, and beginning a time travel story about a modern girl who is transported to 1906 San Francisco and experiences the same earthquake. I loved that the novels inspired me to create my own.
I want to know: What books got you into reading? Was there a specific genre that has caught your mind from the very beginning, like historical fiction has for me? I'd love to hear!