Women WRITE Now! Two: Blogs to Books to Bestsellers
Khadijah Ali-Coleman of Fort Washington, MD was a winner of the essay contest “The Book That Changed My Life.” Below is the winning essay on Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blum:
I’ve been reading since I was three years-old. Then, my hands were barely big enough to hold a hard-cover illustrated storybook, my lap too small to hold the stacks of books I loved to pull from the shelves at the library. But, my love affair with words was immediate and addictive. Inquisitive (read: nosy) from birth, it seemed, learning to read was my passage-way into constantly unfolding stories and undiscovered worlds. During pre-teen years, my reading addiction led me to create a new type of insubordination that parenting manuals hadn’t prepare my mom for; she routinely had to reprimand me for neglecting my household chores in pursuit of finishing a new book I had checked out from the Book Mobile. So, when I became a new fan of Judy Blume’s young adult books, Mom’s job as disciplinarian became all the harder. For, my voracious appetite for books seemed only heightened when Judy Blume’s books came into my life. While Deenie, Tiger’s Eyes and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing were loved, read, and re-read, nothing was as life-changing as Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.
Shanna L. Smith of Laurel, MD was a winner of the essay contest “The Book That Changed My Life.” Below is the winning essay on Sally Hemmings by Barbara Chase-Riboud:
The book that changed my life is Sally Hemmings by Barbara Chase-Riboud. I was thirteen when I smuggled my mother’s copy of the book into my room, fascinated by the cover: the nineteenth century stylized dress of a woman’s torso. It looked like other romance book jackets, which I had taken a particular interest in at that time. Thinking about this now, nearly three decades later, I am surprised that this selection of a “life changing” book is this and not Song of Solomon or Jubilee or Roots or Sugar. Each of these books had stopped me in my tracks during the times in which I read them. Yet, they are all connected to my first interest in Sally Hemmings. Each of these represents a connection with life history and oral narrative, and with wisdom patiently waiting for an interested generation to discover it.