LIFE & STYLE

Need A Book? Here Are Some That Made Readers Feel Like They Belong In The World

By Heidi Stevens
Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Chicago Tribune Columnist Heidi Stevens asked some of her loyal readers to share their all-time favorite books. The choices are eclectic and each respondent explains why their book affected them so deeply.

Chicago Tribune

Inspired by an 11-year-old girl’s award-winning essay, I invited you, dear readers, to tell me the book that first made you feel like you belong.

Audrey Hall, the girl who kicked this whole thing off, chose “Blended” by Sharon Draper.

“Every week Isabella has to change houses,” Audrey wrote in her essay for the New York City Public Library contest.

“Sometimes I have go to my dad’s house on the weekends too. In the text it states, ‘Every Monday I wake up in a different bed than the week before,’ and it also said, ‘Some judge who had never even met me split me in half.’

“Isabella’s mom is white and her dad is black,” Audrey wrote. “Guess what? My mom is also white and my dad is black too. That makes me multiracial or mixed. In the book it stated on page 39: ‘But the world can not see the inside of a person. What the world can see is color.'”

Here are some of yours (edited for length). A peek at the insides.

“The Namesake,” Jhumpa Lahiri: “I grew up as a first-generation child of European parents (Croatian and Italian) and the book really summed up nicely the experience of having a ‘home’ life and an ‘American’ life. We spoke Croatian at home and ate mainly European-inspired foods, which meant I jumped on any chance to eat American junk food! I brought weird lunches to school (liver sausage sandwiches and napolitanke, Croatian wafer cookies). My mom had an accent (which I loved and always wished I had), and she sometimes got English words wrong. My parents only wore dressy clothes, never jeans, T-shirts or gym shoes. We spent some summers in Europe (which I hated, because I was away from my friends). We were ‘forced’ to speak Croatian in public (how embarrassing!) Now that I’m an adult I embrace all of these things. (A summer in Europe? Yes, please!) And I’m grateful that my parents insisted on making their cultures a part of our life. I even learned to speak Italian as an adult and love the fact that I’m trilingual. Also, I got a Facebook message from a former grade school classmate who said her favorite memory of me was eating those Croatian wafer cookies my mom used to pack in my lunch!”
-Lidia Varesco Racoma

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