Anthem by Ayn Rand
Why It's A Favorite: The thought that "I" could be a foreign concept never occurred to me. Until I read this book, I had taken my individuality for granted. I was a typical disgruntled teenager wanting to be just like everyone else. Then, I began to think of people as individuals, with different traits and different choices. I looked at my own individuality, and began to see the beauty behind it.
Beauty by Robin McKinley
Good Night, Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian
Why It's A Favorite: This was the first story I'd read where the main character had been abused. The two main adults in this story, the mother and Mr. Tom, seem to be so similar in the beginning. Yet they are completely different in the end. What really hit home was this: hard times can make hard people, but one's true colors shine through when faced with others in need. Are you a strong soul who reaches out to them? Or do you turn away and care only for yourself?
The Moves Make the Man by Bruce Brooks
Why It's A Favorite: Life requires so many things in order to get through it without too much struggle. So many people tell children that they should always tell the truth, no matter what. But is that how things really are? There's truth, and there's diplomacy. How much of truth is in diplomacy, and vice versa? What if a child isn't taught diplomacy? Does this make the world black and white? That seems to be the case for Bix Rivers, since he went from complete honesty to complete dishonesty after realizing that complete honesty doesn't always work. Sometimes you have to fumble through the gray areas in order to get to where you're going. I admire Bruce Brooks for bringing such intriguing questions to kids.
A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
Why It's A Favorite: Before reading this story, it never occurred to me that my faults could also be strengths. I grew up constantly hearing how stubborn I was, like it's a bad thing. But this story showed me that I could redirect it to something more constructive. So I did, and probably accomplished ten times more in my life than I would have otherwise. For this, I profusely thank Madeleine L'Engle.