Like most kids, I went through many literary phases when I was younger. At different times, and to different degrees, I have been obsessed with Jane Austen, Greek mythology, Nancy Drew, those Royal Diaries books about princesses, the Holocaust, and yes, even Twilight (I was eleven, okay? People change).
And there was the time, around second grade, when I read the Little House on the Prairie series.
I got the complete set of all the books around that time and I remember reading the very first on an airplane to California. I remember this because I left it in the seat back pocket, never to be seen again. It was eventually replaced, but that was the start of it all for me.
I had my mom make me a pioneer dress, complete with a bonnet. I didn't wear it out in public, of course, but on Halloween and lazy Saturdays it would make an appearance. I recall days spent in the living room with my two younger sisters, playing like we were pioneers. I'd lug out the old tin bucket, for lack of better word, and pretend to wash clothes in it. Sometimes, we'd pretend someone was sick and 'call' for the doctor. Or act like Laura and Mary, running around on the banks of Plum Creek.
There's more, though. One time, I went to a pioneer fair with my family, where I made candles and little dolls and rode in a covered wagon. At school that year, we had to decorate a pumpkin as our favorite book character and who did I chose but Laura Ingalls Wilder. Who else was there, really? And when it came time for biographies...well, I don't think you even have to ask.
That was my first big book obsession. You might even say it was the start of it all, what led to my hopefully life-long love of reading. There will be others. But I'll never forget Little House on the Prairie and days spent playing pioneer.