Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Books That Influenced Savita Kalhan + Giveaway

The Long Weekend Blog Tour, Hosted by Melissa at I Swim for Oceans

When I was a very little girl, probably around age 4, my mom would sit me down and quiz me: "If you're playing at the end of the driveway, and a nice lady who looks like me pulls up and asks you to come over to her car because she has a Barbie, what would you do?"

And, no matter how many times she lectured me about strangers, I'd answer "Go get the Barbie." Which is why I really enjoyed Savita Kalhan's book The Long Weekend—a story about two boys who are kidnapped from their elementary school. It's frightening, but the lesson there is something all kids should be told because it takes hearing it again and again (or perhaps just that powerfully) for it to stick.

So I asked Savita about the five books that influenced her most as a child. Like I said, the lessons we learn at a young age that DO stick with us are the most powerful ones...

The Books That Influenced ME
By Savita Kalhan

Hi Anna! It’s great to be here today.

You asked me a question about the five books that most influenced me when I was a child. Well from the ages of 5 to 12 I spent as much time as I could in the children’s library. I think
I virtually read every book in there, before I was allowed to join the adult library earlier than you were allowed to! So this question is a difficult one to answer because in the end, all the books I read made an impact on me – my dream was to do something that involved books
when I was older. I didn’t dare to think that one day I could be a writer, so my sights were
set on being a librarian or an English Lit teacher, and even possibly the proud owner of a

1. The Hobbit
This was where my love affair with epic fantasy fiction and more specifically The Lord of the
, began. I’ve had reread the books more than twenty times since, but the first reading
quite clearly had a major impact on me. The first thing I wrote when I started writing was an
epic fantasy fiction which was very Tolkienesque. I even asked a friend who was an architect
to draw up a plan of the world I had created complete with mountains, and forests, borders,
seas, and towers!

2. The Chronicles of Narnia
I read the whole series by the time I was eleven because once I discovered a writer I liked, I
had to read everything they had written! These books were so different to Lord of the Rings because they were about children who lived in a different world and in a different time, who found their way into a wondrous land full of danger and intrigue, talking creatures and Kings and Queens – and all through a wardrobe! There was good and there was evil and
there were adventures and battles. There was sibling rivalry, jealousy, and betrayal as well as
forgiveness and love. I am one of seven kids, so as you can imagine there was a lot of that in
my family. But we also had the most amazing fun making up our own make-believe worlds!

3. The Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
I loved the whole series of books. It was such an amazing portrayal of the American pioneer
life in a bygone era. I was fascinated by the stories of wolves and Native Americans, of
forests and prairies, the harshness and struggle of everyday life. (I have to admit that I loved
the television series too, but it was so different to the books)

4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
I wanted to be Jo March, and I so wanted my family to be like Jo’s family! She was a big
reader, she was headstrong, determined and brave, yet compassionate and kind. She had three
sisters, I have four, she wanted to be a writer, I couldn’t even dream about it. I think I read it when I was about nine, and it made a huge impression on me.

5. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
This was such a lovely story of how a spoilt little girl becomes a very different person after
a tragedy throws her into a different world. And how kids can change even the adults around
them! It was so full of hope and completely magical.

Those were all books I read before I was twelve, when I was allowed to join the adult library.
But looking back at those books, they still fill me with the same feelings even though I
haven’t reread any of them recently.

I’d love your followers to come over to my website,, and have
a look around, leave me a message on my message board and tell me what they think
of The Long Weekend!

They can also find me on twitter and on Facebook.

For the international GIVEAWAY competition, I’d like your followers to answer this
question in the comments section: What five books influenced them most growing up? I’m
looking forward to reading their responses!

Thanks so much for inviting me here, Anna.


  1. What a great contest! It really made me think of some of my childhood favorites.

    I still have most of my Nancy Drew series and The Little House on the Prairies series copies.
    Emma has always been the one book that comforts me! If I'm sick, having a bad day, etc... I like to pick up Emma or read it on my Kindle. I can start on any page and know exactly where I'm at.

    Thanks for taking me down walk through memory lane!

    I love your site and the interview was fantastic! I'll be back!

    Stop by and see me!

    Kristi-The Book Faery

  2. I'm almost ashamed to admit that I hadn't read any of Savita's favorites as a child. I did read 5 of the Narnia books last year, but none of the others. It's certainly a fun topic to discuss though, so I'll share my list here, as well as in the form:
    All the Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel - I loved reading them, regardless of what the two amphibians were up to.

    The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner - It was the first series I wholeheartedly devoured. At the ripe young age of 6, I started these and never let up. They helped solidify my love for reading.

    The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery - I didn't really get the message then, but looking back, this story reminds me of what wonders childhood has to offer.

    The Giver by Lois Lowry - This was the first book that made me think about life and morals. It remains one of my favorite books ever.

    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - My all-time favorite book. I loved it when I was younger, I love it still.

    Thanks for the giveaway!


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