What's your favorite book? Bet you can't pick just one

January 17, 2013|Lisa Prejean

I was in another teacher's class listening to a biographical profile, a list of questions and answers designed in a getting-to-know-you format.

It was enjoyable to hear about the preferences and experiences of the person being profiled. I was beginning to feel like I had interviewed the subject during a nice cozy chat.

Then suddenly one question caused me to pause.

"What is your favorite book?" The interviewer had asked. The response was a title that didn't sound familiar to me; a local author had penned the work.

My mind began to drift and I started wondering how I would answer that question if it were asked of me. (Don't chastise. You probably would have drifted, too.)

How would I pick just one book? Impossible. There are too many incredible books in such a variety of categories, I don't think I could narrow it down to just one.

For sake of example, though, I thought I should try a modified version of this, given some perimeters.

I'd rather answer the essay prompt my 11th-graders were given recently. If you could keep only three books, which ones would you keep and why? However, I'd like to expand that to five books, if you please.

 We read to our children from the time we brought them home from the hospital. If we had a child on our lap, we usually had a book in our hands. My favorite book from this period of my life is "Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown. It is hard to resist lines such as, "Goodnight stars. Goodnight air. Goodnight noises everywhere." The quietness just seemed to descend as the book came to a close.

 "Sarah, Plain and Tall" by Patricia MacLachlan takes me back to the third-graders I taught six years ago and those precious little faces that aren't so little anymore. What a sweet book to read about love and acceptance.

 Prior to this school year, my leisure-reading book of choice was any title by Karen Kingsbury. The inspirational author has tackled many recent social issues and events, including Sept. 11, 2001. Her stories are powerful and intriguing.

 Since the beginning of last summer, my nose has been in classic after classic as I work with my Advanced Placement Literature class on analyzing and interpreting literature. I wouldn't necessarily classify "Frankenstein," "Oedipus," "King Lear" or "The Crucible" as a favorite, but each one has merit and is valuable. (Could I lump classics into a category and have them count as one? Thanks. I thought you'd give me that liberty.)

 Of course, I would be remiss without including the Bible, a book I read every day, even if it is just a verse or two. It is my road map for life, and I want to spend as much time as possible following its direction.

As the speaker drew to a close, I thought about these books and the effect they have on my life. Thankfully, I wasn't in my classroom evaluating students' speeches. I was a guest in someone else's class, and once again developed an appreciation for students who have to be brought back into focus.

After all, a little daydreaming can produce a lot of creativity.

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send email to her at

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