Whether it is a picture book featuring a caboose named Katie or spooky chapter books ala R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series, everyone has a story that introduced us to the thousand lives lived in the worlds of books. It may not be our favorite novel now. Like most first loves, we grow out of them, but those stories are still very much a part of our makeup. For me that book is Chasing Redbird by Sharon Creech. For Love of Reading month, I celebrate Creech’s story of Zinny and her adventures in Bybanks, Kentucky.

chasing redbird by sharon creech

Thirteen-year-old Zinny often feels invisible in her large family. While her parents take care of her numerous siblings, Zinny escapes to her aunt and uncle’s house next door. In addition to wanting solace from her crowded home, Zinny feels a sense of responsibility for her aunt and uncle whose daughter died young of whooping cough after contracting the illness from Zinny. As the Summer months begin, Zinny discovers an overgrown trail behind her home. She decides to uncover the trail to see where it leads. When her aunt tragically passes away, Zinny’s venture becomes an obsession. She camps out at night and works during the day all summer long, learning her own family’s history and heartbreak. It’s clear why Chasing Redbird is an ALA Best Book for Young Adults.

Reading about the Taylor family and Zinny’s adventures turned me into an avid reader. What was the first book you fell in love with? Was it a tale about an orphaned wizard or Milo and his tollbooth? Did you completely devourer the Nancy Drew mysteries or work your way through Roald Dahl’s creations starting with James and ending with Matilda? Show us how much you love to read by sharing in the comments below or on twitter which book you read as a child that turned you on to books.

Chasing Redbird by Sharon Creech
Publisher: HarperCollins
PubDate: 1998
ISBN: 9780064406963