By Zoe Samuel on April 23, 2018
There are some books that you read as a child that really make a deep impression on you: You read them again and again, perhaps until the cover comes right off and all the pages are dog-eared and crumpled. They have inscriptions in the cover from kindly aunts and thoughtful cousins who bought them for Christmas or a birthday, and stains from snacks you ate while reading them and baths you dropped them into. They are like your childhood friends, that helped transport you to worlds you could never have visited: a school for wizards, a magical land with talking animals and a lion savior, the jungles of Africa, Victorian England or the Gold Rush up in the Klondike. They opened your eyes to perspectives besides your own and made you smarter, kinder, and more empathetic.
Of course, the main reason you love them so much isn't just the worlds or the writing or the ideas: It's the people who help you explore them. Whether it's an audience proxy who doesn't know the rules of the magical land or simply someone highly relatable, you put yourself in the characters' shoes and go on the journey with them. Heroes, sidekicks, even villains become so familiar, you feel like you know them. So ... time to find out if you really do.