I had the same teacher for second and third grade. The first year I had her, she taught a second/third grade split class, so I was with some older children. But I loved her class and I have found memories of being in her classroom.
One of the things I loved most from her class was story time. She was a big reader and always encouraged us to read as much as we could. She would select the most wonderful books for us to read together. All of us would sit on the carpet while she sat in her chair and for 20 minutes a day she would read from the book of choice.
She was in love with Roald Dahl, so I remember reading a few of his books as a class-The BFG, The Witches, James and the Giant Peach, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. His stories fascinated me, so when she told me there was another book about a girl who loved to read, I knew I had to read it. She lent me her treasured copy of Matilda until I could get my own.
I was in love with this book as a child. Matilda's escape into literature was something I was beginning to understand, as I read anything I could get my hands on. Her story of having her intelligence ignored by those around her touched me as a child. And her clever ways of getting even and making herself feel better made me smile. And I loved the way she took down Ms. Trunchbull.
It was a novel that like Dahl's other novels, captured my imagination and made me yearn for more opportunities to read. It is also a novel I have read countless times. My own copy is quite battered and torn from being taken on vacations to traveling in my backpack for months at a time. It is definitely one of those books that defined my childhood and that I think of fondly now.