Inspired by Pitchfork’s 5-10-15-20 feature, we asked the WITS staff to talk about the books that shaped them as they grew up. From Kindergarten favorites to the novels that got us through college, we’re excited to take this walk down memory lane, five years at a time with our Program Specialist, Tra’Lisha Renteria.
Tra’Lisha Renteria, Program Specialist
5 – Crockett Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon
As a child, I enjoyed listening to this story and following along with the pictures. I thought Harold was very imaginative and creative. I also have an uncle named Harold!
10 – Carolyn Keene’s The Nancy Drew Mystery Stories series
My teacher had a few copies of Nancy Drew in our classroom library. I loved solving mysteries and going on adventures with Nancy.
15 – Sharon M. Draper’s Romiette and Julio
After reading Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, my class read Sharon M. Draper’s version of the play. I enjoyed this story, because of its modern feel. After reading Romiette and Julio, I also read other books written by this author.
20 – Octavia E. Butler’s Bloodchild and Other Stories
In one of my English courses, we read parts of a novel by Octavia Butler. However, it was difficult to follow, because I was not used to reading science fiction. After graduating, I picked up a collection of her story stories. I have always loved short stories and decided to give it a try. I enjoyed the entire collection. At the end of the collection, she also includes an essay where she talks about her journey as an African American female science fiction writer!