Depending on your generation, it could be anyone from Dickens to Milne, Seuss to Sendak. For me, it’s Kipling.
My father used to read aloud to us at the table every Sunday night after dinner from his tattered childhood copy (bound with duct tape) of Kipling’s Just So Stories. Those stories are meant to be read aloud, and my father did justice to every line, every time. As a boy, he’d colored in the original illustrations in colored pencil, and would hold them up so we could all see them while he read us Kipling’s first person notations about the drawings. So when my father read us kids these stories, they were as if he had written them. It was easy for me to imagine my father as an intrepid adventurer who had lived in all these exotic places and gathered these stories as a sort of a travel log. No matter how often I hear these stories (and he continued to read them to us even after we were all gown up), they always swept me away someplace magical, and a far more interesting than my regular life.
I knew these stories were fiction, and I knew my dad had not really written them, but it wasn’t until I was in junior high that I found a copy of Just So Stories on the shelf in my local library that I really got it. Somebody made these stories up and wrote them down. And the power of those stories was that they were told in such a vivid way that I felt as if I’d actually been to the veldt in Africa, the hardpan in the middle of Australia, and a whole bunch of other places. Out there. Beyond the borders my day-to-day life. Those stories made a reader out of me. I could even say they fueled my lifelong love of storytelling.
What author lives in your earliest memories?