For Tell An Author You Care Day, I'd like to talk a bit about Tamora Pierce.
In fifth grade, my teacher had shelves and shelves of books. That year I discovered quite a few favorites. Stargirl was a big one. The Giver. However, the best of all? Tamora Pierce. The Song of the Lioness quartet.
I loved those books! I read them so many times that year. It was those books that made me the book lover I am today. Sure, BSC got me reading. I enjoyed some other books--the Little House books, for one. I read Harry Potter in third grade, and I loved it (but it didn't become an obsession until book four!). But when I think about why I have shelves and shelves of books, why I have books I read until their covers fall off (and then I buy new copies!), why I LOVE books so much, I think about Tamora Pierce. It's also why I love fantasy so much! I am always looking for fantasy that's as good as Tamora Pierce's.
Later, I read the Immortals books, the Circle of Magic, the Circle Opens, Protector of the Small, and so on, as new books came out, up until now (The latest? Terrier). I have loved them all, read them all multiple times. I think that Tamora Pierce's writing has improved since those early books (her stories were always great, though!). I still read her new releases faithfully. My favorites in the "Circle" universe are Street Magic and The Will of the Empress. My favorite Tortall books are Trickster's Choice and Trickster's Queen. So far--I know she'll write so many more great books!
So if you haven't read anything yet by Tamora Pierce, get yourself to a library or bookstore, now!