Grateful for Judy Blume (Schindler)
I guess you always remember your first, and this one's mine:
It's a picture book about two siblings, both of whom are absolutely convinced are loved less by their parents. It's simple and it's honest--which is a big part of the reason why so many of us '80s kids have such a strong connection to Blume, I think.
Not only did I connect with the feelings in the book when I was little, the characters were similar. (Some of this might be a bit different depending on the illustrator for your edition). But the book as a whole was about a little boy, an older sister. (Just like my family.) The girl is depicted playing the piano (I had just started taking lessons). The boy was a rascal who liked to destroy his sister's tower blocks. (Oh, yeah.) They even had a cat.
I saw myself in that book. It was the first time it had ever happened. Blume knew what it was like to be me. That was a comfort like nothing I'd known before.
I think often that this is the book that did it--sold me on storytelling. I'll always be grateful that The Pain and the Great One came into my life. Because it very well may have shaped my life. Made me not just a reader but a storyteller as well.