I have been, and always will be, a sensitive person. I'm that cliche gal who can cry at a commercial (wanna make something of it?!) So, it kind of goes without saying that I can be highly affected when reading, and that definitely manifested itself when I was a child. I remember reading A Taste of Blackberries and being completely inconsolable when I finished the book. The tragedy of that story felt so real to me and I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that my brother would die a terrible death because he mows the lawn and is always riding over bees' nests and, well, if you've ever read that book, you can see the connection. Anyways.
When, in 5th grade, we read Bridge to Terabithia, I had to be walked out of the class by my teacher because I couldn't get the ol' tear ducts to stop gushing.
When, in 7th grade, we read Where the Red Fern Grows, I had to be walked out of the class by my teacher because I couldn't get the ol' tear ducts to stop gushing. (I figured it was easier to simply copy & paste that paragraph, since the outcome was the same.)
So, when my 11-year-old niece asked if she could read The Book Thief, I thought, "Oh goodness, no! You're a delicate little flower. You'll never recover!" but instead said, "Maybe, soonish." Being the good listener that she is, she went right ahead and read it anyways. When she told me she had finished it, I was waiting for the trauma, the regret, the pleas of "Please make me stop feeling so sad!" But instead what I got was, "The ending was so hard to read, but what a GOOD book!" Wait, what? She didn't collapse on the floor in a puddle of tears? She didn't spend the next three days in bed eating Haagen Dazs? At that moment, I realized that my niece is even more mature than I thought (to be read: more mature than her Aunt Lindsey). And now I realize that my job as book pusher to my niece has expanded. If she made it through The Book Thief, she's ready for so much more.
Check out Lindsey's list of book recommendations, many of which aren't even sad!