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By the Book: Laurie Halse Anderson

What kind of reader were you as a child? Which childhood books and authors stick with you most?

I was a struggling reader, at first. Lots of extra help at home and in school turned me into an omnivorous reader by fourth grade. The books that bring back powerful memories are “The Borrowers” books, by Mary Norton, “Heidi,” by Johanna Spyri, “Little Women,” by Louisa May Alcott, and “Harriet the Spy,” by Louise Fitzhugh. I read “Dracula,” by Bram Stoker, in sixth grade. It freaked me out so much I threw it under my bed, and then became slightly hysterical, convinced that the book was emitting an eerie green light and that the vampire was going to come through the pages and bite me. My imagination was a bit of a burden for my mother.

If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?

Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights and the Flaws that Affect Us Today,” by Cynthia and Sanford Levinson. Written for readers ages 10 and up, it’s an excellent introduction to the strengths and weaknesses of our founding document and is especially enlightening for those who don’t yet understand how our government is supposed to work.

You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?

Louise Erdrich stands at the top of my list. Her use of language, her dexterity with multiple viewpoints and the unending heartbeat that connects her stories make her the Author I’d Most Love to Learn From. Plus, she owns an incredible bookstore, Birchbark Books and Native Arts, in Minneapolis. I’d invite Article source:

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