I remember vividly the first moment I realized the power of story. In second grade, the thing at recess – at least for the girls – was to play Wizard of Oz. And of course, every girl wanted to be Dorothy. I managed to milk an entire week of playing that coveted role by letting it slip on the playground that my mother was in the hospital. Boy, did that get me the sympathy vote!I also enjoyed Larson’s story about how her grandmother inspired her novel of the prairies, Hattie Big Sky, which won a Newbery Honor in 2007.
When the other girls discovered that the reason Mom was in the hospital was to deliver my baby brother, I quickly got demoted from Dorothy. But that incident stuck with me. And the fact that stories had a huge pull on me in my formative years contributed to my becoming a writer.