How about a top ten list of influential books? In no particular order...
1. A Wrinkle in Time/A Wind in the Door/A Swiftly Tilting Planet - Madeleine L'Engle
I loved this series. I don't remember when I first got turned onto these books, or how many times I read them, but read them I did. I wanted a Charles Wallace for a brother and to date a Calvin. Now that I think about it, I might have married a bulkier version of him.
2. Ramona Quimby, Age 8- Beverly Cleary
The Ramona books were the first books I remember wanting to get the next one to read.
3. The Diary of Anne Frank- Anne Frank
I must have been in sixth grade or so when I read it. I think it was the first time I came face to face with life being unfair, for no reason other than sometimes it is. Harsh lesson to learn, but an important one.
4. Otherwise Known as Shelia the Great- Judy Blume
I read all the Judy Blume books, and got all the messages she was sending. Reading that even bullies are vulnerable was a nice bit of information to have in my hip pocket as I headed to junior high.
5. The View From Saturday- E. L. Konigsburg
I didn't stumble upon Konigsburg until I was a mom, but if I had as a kid, I'd have loved her in the same way I did L'Engle. This has become my standard gift to all my sixth grade kids.
6. The Lord of the Rings trilogy- J.R.R. Tolkien
I resisted reading this, out of pure stubbornness, until I was in college. I only read it cover to cover that one time, but I am so glad I gave up the battle and just read this brilliant book.
7. The Fionavar Tapestry- Guy Gavriel Kay
This was another adult find, and one that I can't wait for the kids to be old enough to read. I think Boy especially will love it. Even if there is a dwarf named Matt...
8. A Song of Ice and Fire- George R.R. Martin
This could be the only author whose webpage I check daily for updates on the release of the next book in the series. Tackling this is a serious commitment, but oh, what a story...
9. The Harry Potter series- J.K. Rowling
I'm late to this party, but not because I didn't believe in the series. Girly is now reading the fourth book, and she's almost ready to pass it onto me. I didn't want to have read them before reading them to her, but her reading skills surpassed my ability to keep my eyes open for bedtime reading. And to have American children waiting in line at midnight to get the next book, well, how can any teacher not love that, even if they don't love fantasy?
10. The Cat in the Hat- Dr. Seuss
My earliest book memory is of my sister and I squished into the living room chair together, and I would read to her. I would start off with the title-- "The Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss"-- and she would reply without hesitation "on the loose". I still can't read any of his books without hearing the litany echoing in my mind.