As a child I was shy and usually lost in a world of my imagination. I read constantly from fourth grade on, plucking books haphazardly from my parents' or the library's shelves: Romeo and Juliet, Lorna Doone, Wind in the Willows, The Caine Mutiny. In fourth grade I was changed forever by my first readings of Shakespeare and Coleridge. I was spellbound by their emotional directness, interweaving of thought and feeling, and above, all, the pure music of their words.
I read Little Women more times than any other book. Like the heroine, Jo, I grew up to combine careers as an educator, mother, and children's book writer. (Perhaps this says something about the long-term influence a children's book may have on a reader!)
I dabbled in writing as a child, but it wasn't until I had children of my own that I began to write seriously, and to think about trying to get a book published. I seem fated to come to books in reverse order. I mainly read adult literature as a child, but as an adult I began to read children's literature, often encountering a classic work for the first time while reading it to my children.