Well I got caught up in working on my own book and completely forgot to post this yesterday, so it’s going up today.

Zanballer by R.R. KnudsonI still have my copy of Zanballer from when I was in middle school. I had planned to have a pic of me holding the book, but of course when I want it, I can’t find it!

Zanballer by R. R. Knudson

Anyway, Zan Hagan, the main character, loves basketball and can’t believe it when they tear up the gym floor right before her season starts. To make things worse, they were making the girls take dancing lessons! She rebels and get some girls together to form a football team. I LOVED this book, still love it (except for a few things like cell phones, it still holds up after over thirty years). I loved this book because Zan was such a strong female character and made me see that girls could excel at sports traditionally seen as boys’ sports. I came to love football, playing street football with my neighbors growing up, and flag football on an intramural college team. I can still throw a decent spiral pass! (especially if it’s a youth size football since my hands are small :))


The Cat Ate My Gymsuit by Paula Danziger

The Cat Ate My Gymsuit by Paula DanzigerThis book meant so much to me as a kid. I think I may have my original copy of this book as well. But I also have one I bought at one of the RMC-SCBWI summer retreats when Paula Danziger was our facilitator. Inside she wrote, “To Denise – Keep on writing! Paula Danziger 1994” in her fabulous, rounded script. So both copies are precious to me for different reasons. BTW, the cover here is the one I had. There have been several updated covers since the book was published in 1974.

Okay, so here’s the interesting thing about my love for this book: When I was her age, I was everything that the main character, Marcy Lewis, wasn’t: I was thin, popular, a good athlete and had a decent home life. But she was honest and funny and she did something I could never do as a child: stand up for someone and something she believed in. I was in awe of her and wished I could be that strong.

Finally, there was also a book about a boy falling in love with another boy. I’m not positive (which is why there isn’t a book cover), but I think it might have been I’ll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip by John Donovan. I don’t remember the specifics of the plot. What I do remember was relating to the feelings we can have for another person, that longing to be with them. I don’t remember having a reaction to the fact that it was about two boys. I just remember being able to relate to the emotions. Hey, crushes are crushes, love is love.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about books in the Catholic school I attended.

So, what books had an impact on you as a kid?