A story is only as good as its first sentence. That’s probably why some authors spend as much time crafting the perfect first sentence as they spend writing the rest of the book. If you can’t reel your audience in with the opening line, what’s going to motivate them to stick around for any line after it? And especially when it is a child doing the reading, grabbing his or her attention right away becomes even more important if you want them to stick with the story and earn that “I read for 20 minutes” stamp for their reading logs.
That’s why one of my favorite features in Cricket is “Favorite First Sentences”. This is a prime example of authors who really nailed that first sentence in a way that is so memorable it is worthy of recognition. Consider this line, featured in the July/August edition of Cricket from the book Savvy by author Ingrid Law:
When my brother Fish turned thirteen, we moved to the deepest part of inland because of the hurricane and, of course, the fact that he’d caused it.
This raises so many questions! Inland of what? Which state do they live in? Which hurricane are they talking about? Why is the narrator’s brother named Fish? And, of course, how in the world did HE cause a hurricane?
Must. Read. More. My daughter and I went out and got Savvy the weekend after we read this first line in the July/August issue of Cricket. We read the book together and loved it. The first line is a sublime introduction to a fascinating story. I think the sweetness of reading this book was made even sweeter by the fact that this is a book we never would have picked up if we hadn’t read that first line in Cricket.
If you are wondering how Cricket complies these first lines, you should know that it is usually kids who submit them. When kids remember the first sentence of a book, and care enough to take the time to send it in to their favorite magazine, you know it’s a story that resonated with them, one that is well-worth checking out.
In honor of National Book Lovers Day, below you’ll find the other “Favorite First Sentences” from the July / August issue of Cricket. We hope you’ll show your love of books by picking up one of these wonderful stories or another that strikes your fancy and spend some quality time sharing it with your family. And if you or your child have a favorite first line of your own, please tell us about them in the comments section below.
Favorite First Sentences
“Trouble cruised into Tupelo Landing at exactly seven minutes past noon on Wednesday, the third of June, flashing a gold badge and driving a Chevy Impala the color of dirt.”
THREE TIMES LUCKY by Shelia Turnage
submitted by Sydney Brooks of Hopewell, NJ
“My father is always talking about how a dog can be very educational for a boy.”
IT’S LIKE THIS, CAT by Emily Cheney Neville
submitted by Rebecca C. of Bloomfield, NE
“Kansas is not easily impressed.”
DANDELION FIRE (The 100 Cupboards, Book 2) by N. D. Wilson
submitted by Corinne K. of Arlington Heights, IL
“I’ve watched through his eyes, I’ve listened through his ears, and I tell you he’s the one.”
ENDER’S GAME (The Ender Quintet, Book 1) by Orson Scott C
submitted by Max Elinson of Brooklyn, NY
“When my brother Fish turned thirteen, we moved to the deepest part of inland because of the hurricane and, of course, the fact that he’d caused it.”
SAVVY by Ingrid Law
submitted by Grace L. Talley of Oakland, CA
“If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.”
THE BAD BEGINNING: OR, ORPHANS! (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 1) by Lemony Snicket
submitted by Victoria K. of Greeneville, TN
“Where’s Papa going with that ax?’ said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.”
CHARLOTTE’S WEB by E. B. White
submitted by Emmy Udry of Upper Nyack, NY
“The end of the world started when a Pegasus landed on the hood of my car.”
THE LAST OLYMPIAN (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 5) by Rick Riordan
submitted by Corina H. via email and Katie H. via email
Looking for other tips to get or keep your kids reading? Sign up for Motivational Monday to get great suggestions mailed right to your inbox every week. And to see all the “Favorite First Lines” be sure to subscribe to Cricket.