Asking me to make a list of my classics is like asking me what my favorite food is and I am classically trained chef with little restraint. I agree completely with Juliet about books being personal. I believe the book is only one component and the other is the experience of reading it or having it read to you.
And I am sure that some books on my list of classics wouldn't be found on any literary list but these books shaped me, changed me and opened me to the world of words and their power.
Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss : I sympathized with Yertle. I had dreams of becoming the Queen of England. And I'm sure that my mother read this book as a warning of what could happen if I got too full of myself.
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein : This was the first book I could read on my own. The language, rhythm and illustrations kept me turning page after page. The first poem I ever memorized and recited was from this book.
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson : I remember my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Hurst, reading this aloud to our class. No one spoke while she read. No one moved. We hung on every single word. And we cried. Our entire class including the bully, the popular girls and the Math nerd bawled and blubbered. Mrs. Hurst handed out tissues and we talked about loss, discussed grief and wrote essays about dead pets. This was the first time I experienced the power of words. This book opened the flood gates of literature for me.
It is nearly impossible for me to describe the love I have for the next books on my list so I will let the books do the talking.
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” -Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
"He suddenly lost concern for himself, and forgot to look at a menacing fate. He became not a man but a member. He felt that something of which he was a part - a regiment, an army, a cause, or a country - was in crisis. He was welded into a common personality which was dominated by a single desire. For some moments he could not flee no more than a little finger can commit a revolution from a hand." -Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage
"In the nighttime of desire hope sees a star and listening lover can hear the rustle of a wing."-Gene Stratton-Porter a.k.a. Geneva Stratton-Porter, Keeper of the Bees