When you were a child, what was your favorite book? This is what I asked my colleagues at our library today, and was pleased at the amount of conversation it generated. For some there was a clear favorite, and others had to stop and think about it. Many of the responses were surprising. When I posed this question to a couple of clerks and pages, their answers included To Kill a Mockingbird, Gone with the Wind, The Iliad, and The Inferno. Of course I loved their answers, but had to ask them to modify their choices to something that could be found in the children’s section.

The librarians had great responses as well. One not only gave me the book’s title, but also provided an insightful reason as to why it was included among his favorites. The Children’s Librarian, who has experienced a lifelong passion for children’s literature, stared at me as if I had just asked her the meaning of life.

So the next time you want to learn more about a person, ask what his or her favorite book is. No doubt you will find out something about this person that you didn’t know before.

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