The books we first pick up and read can have a profound effect on us — as readers, writers, and people.

For me that book is The Diary of Anne Frank.

I always loved to read. Years before I picked up this particular book, I was a voracious reader with an appetite that was hearty. I loved books. The feel of them, their smell, and their promise to introduce you to new people and places. I would lose myself in stories for hours. But something about this particular book struck a nerve in me. We found each other at the exact right time.

The Diary of Anne Frank inspired me to start writing a journal when I was eight years old, something I still do to this day.

It also made me truly fall in love with writing as an art and a practice. Anne’s musings gripped me and made me realize that we all have stories, dreams, wishes, desires, and a distinct voice, and that they are worth writing down.

It also instilled in me a strong sense of social justice, the ability to remain an optimist and always try to see the good in people and situations, and to never lose that all important trait that strengthens and binds us as a humanity… hope.

The Diary of Anne Frank was essentially one of my early teachers. The lessons it taught me have stayed with me over my lifetime, helping to mold me, shape my views of the world, and always remind me that we are connected. And that words matter. They truly do.

What book that you read earlier in life has influenced you as a reader, writer, or overall person? I’d love to hear about it.