Top Ten Gateway Books

This week with Top Ten Tuesday we discuss gateway books – those books that introduced us to new aspects of the magic of reading! I love this idea and had to force myself to stop at ten!

gateway books

1. The Ultimate Gateway

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

This book basically started my love affair with books. At this point I could read, and I liked reading, but I was reading the picture books they gave us at school. When my mom took this book out for me at the library, it opened a whole new world. First I devoured every Dahl book the library had in the children’s section. Then I moved on to the Famous Five, Secret Seven, Trompie, Saartjie, Sweet Valley… and it escalated from there.

2. Gateway to Teenage Girly Things

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

Periods and boobs! I didn’t know books could tell such stories until I read this book – and just in time. This was my gateway to books as my friends and my comfort when teenage angst got a bit much.

3. Gateway to History

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

I’ve said this before, but I was probably a bit too young when I picked up Anne Frank for the first time. However, I did read the book in bits and pieces at first, and so I wasn’t overwhelmed (and probably did not understand half of it). This was my first education of World War II, and was more than just a gateway to historical books (fiction and non-fiction alike) – it was a gateway to my love of history in itself.

4. Gateway to Fantasy

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

This book! It brought magic back into my life. It was fantastic. At the age of 11 I was serious beyond my years and didn’t think I cared much for fantasy,
but HP changed all that.

5. Gateway to all the tears

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

This was the first book I ever read that made me cry. I remember feeling shocked that a book would do this to me – and shocked that it made me love it all the same.

6. Gateway to Dystopians

Shade’s Children by Garth Nix

This was before The Hunger Games and was possibly the first dystopian I ever read. It was good and left me wanting more!

7. Gateway to Plays

The Road to Mecca by Athol Fugard

We did Shakespeare in high school, of course, but The Road to Mecca was the first play I thoroughly enjoyed READING.PhotoFunia-6dc6c4

8. Gateway to Asia

The Diary of Ma Yan

The first book from any part of Asia that I ever read. I so enjoyed reading about China (although the diary itself was terribly sad) that I went on an Asian-book rampage.

9. Gateway to Adult Contemporary

The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult

As formulaic as her books may be, reading her books (this being the first one I read) introduced me to so many other books that I ended up loving.

10. Gateway to Middle Eastern Literature

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

The challenge here is to find  books that do not simply project the idea that only bad comes from the Middle East. For example, The Blood of Flowers was splendid in presenting the beauty and rich history of the Middle East.

 What did I miss? Which were your gateway books? I’m especially interested in your “ultimate gateway”.


  1. My ultimate gateway was Harry Potter, of course, even though it was hardly the first book I read! I’ve just never been so involved in a book before or after that series – it’s also the book I’ve most re-read, which is why it’s completely in tatters now. The Road to Mecca sounds interesting, will add it to my TBR list. 🙂

  2. I loved the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie and wanted to get the book but for some reason never got around to it. I also remember wanting to read Shade’s Children after reading Nix’s Abhorsen trilogy but again, never got around to it, lol. Awesome list! 🙂

    My TTT

  3. I’ve only read 1 through 4 (and maybe Bridge to Terabithia when I was a kid but can’t remember!). Agree with those on all counts! I think my gateway to Chick Lit was the Confessions of a Shopaholic series.

    There was also a book written by a local author called An Earthly Knight that was kind of my gateway into historical fiction and fantasy.

  4. Haha! I wrote that I read The Diary of Anne Frank too young, as well. Funny how that happens. Also, hooray for Roald Dahl, although he sadly isn’t on my list this week.

  5. I loved Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. I also read it at the absolutely perfect point in my life. I read it the summer before 7th grade, and I was experiencing and wondering about many of the things Margaret was. This books goes down as one of my favorite reading experiences ever!

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